Category Archives: Army Life

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10 YEARS!

You’re here! I’m so excited! On February 26, 2005, I started this blog, and for the next two weeks, I will be looking back at the past TEN YEARS of blogging!

Ten years has gone by in the blink of an eye. At least, it seems so at times. I’ve been browsing back through old posts and, while the style of my photos (lots of borders and filters in the early days) has changed, the core of the posts has not. It started with a few posts about my kids and that’s pretty much the same today. I wrote about things we did, places we traveled, movies I loved, following my love of photography into a business, family, friends, parties, scrapbooking, memories, happy times, sad times, publishing my novel. So much of our life.

Ten years is a really long time.

So, for the next TEN DAYS, I will be looking back, sharing old photos and favorite posts, and there will be GIVEAWAYS!!!

GIVEAWAY INFO: There are four ways to enter through the giveaway box below and each will get you five entries in the drawing.

• The first option is the only one you HAVE to do in order to be entered. I’ll ask one question in every day’s giveaway. You just have to enter your name and email address, give a brief response to the question, and you’re in the drawing.

If you want more chances to win, you can …
• Join my mailing list (if you already have, enter your email address so I can verify)
• Tweet about the giveaway and copy/paste the link from Twitter
• SHARE about the giveaway and the BLOG-IVERSARY on your own blog, Facebook*, Pinterest, etc. and link to that as well.

All giveaways will end on my actual BLOG-IVERSARY, next Thursday, February 26th, so the giveaways will all be OPEN until then.
The winners will be announced in a blog post on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27th!

* Note: If you share on a private Facebook account and we aren’t “friends”, make sure you change the audience of that one post to “public” so I can see it. ;)

TODAY’S GIVEAWAY!

I’ve got a paperback copy of my first young adult novel ready to sign. The Truth About Drew was published last May.
It’s a sweet, uplifting, heart-warming story full of friendship and family with a journey to faith and a mystery surrounding a boy and his notebook.
Enter below. Tell a friend! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you have any questions at all about the giveaway, feel free to ask.

SEE YA BACK HERE TOMORROW!

Project Life® | Life in Germany album


Added another layout to the Life in Germany album this week. When I had been in Germany with Jake for about a month, we went to the nearby town of Idar-Oberstein for the day with our friends, Jason and Alisha. I had been there the week before with the in-processing class for spouses who were just arriving in Europe with their soldiers. The class took us there to show us the local stores and restaurants, the culture, and to let us practice speaking German. It was a lot of fun and very helpful.

On this Saturday, we drove to Idar-Oberstein, walked around at the stores, bought a few things, walked up the hill to the old castle ruins. The old church, Felsenkirche, was closed that day so we couldn’t check out the inside. That next summer, I went back with my friend, Julie, who came over from Michigan to visit and we were able to go inside. You basically have to walk up stairs through a dark tunnel to get in. I’ll share pictures when I get a layout done for that.

In the spouse class, I learned the legend of that old church, so I had to include it on my layout.

The legend goes something like this …

The legendary Felsenkirche, or the CHURCH in the ROCK was built sometime during the 14th century. According to legend, there were two noble brothers, Wyrich and Emich, who both fell in love with a beautiful girl named Bertha. The brothers lived in Castle Bosselstein, situated atop a 450 foot hill. Neither brother was aware of the other’s feelings. When the elder Wyrich was away on some business, Emich secured Bertha’s affections and married her. When Emich told his brother the happy news, Wyrich’s temper got the best of him and he hurled Emich out a castle window to his death on the rocks below. Wyrich was immediately remorseful and, with the counsel of a local abbot, built a church on the site of his brother’s death, praying for a sign of forgiveness. When the last brick was placed on the church to complete it, a miracle spring opened up in the church. Soon after, Wyrich died and was found on the steps of the church. He was placed in the same tomb as his brother.

Nobody knows if this story is actually true. There’s no historical evidence to prove it, I guess. But most people don’t care because it’s such a romantic story. :)

Here is my full layout about our day in Idar-Oberstein using the lovely Project Life® Jade core kit:

Click for slightly larger image

And close-ups of the left and right pages:


Thanks for looking. :)

a grocery date


It seems forever since we’ve had a real date, but we did sneak away for a few hours on Tuesday night for a “grocery date”. It was exhausting and not romantic in the least, but we were together, just the two of us for once.

As we walked down the international foods aisle, I stopped next to the German section and picked up a Ritter Sport, something we enjoyed often when living in Germany. We reminisced about Kinder Eggs (I believe they are banned in the U.S. because they pose a choking risk from the toy inside the chocolate egg!) and I mentioned how their ketchup and mustard were packaged in a tube, like toothpaste. We chatted about how we wish we had traveled more when we were there and how much I wish we’d gone to Munich.

All the while, we filled our cart with healthy foods for home cooked meals. I don’t love grocery shopping. I kind of dread it every week. But having him there with me, helping me get the things we need (and some things we didn’t – see Rittersport above) made the task much better. :)

take two


Click image for a slightly larger version

So another great thing about laying out my pages in Photoshop … if I don’t like them, I can change them. Not that I didn’t like the cards I used before, but something about the green of my shirt and the blue in my friend Jen’s shirt made me think it would look better with a different color scheme. Changes made. I like it much better now!

Title card: Just Add Color kit
Journaling + title cards: Coral kit

Note: Also, the 4×6 card with “documenting life” and the camera on it was a 4×4 card from the Just Add Color kit. I simply copy+pasted that onto a 4×6 canvas with the same background color as the original card.

life in Germany album


Click image for a slightly larger version

It was the fall of 1996, after spending almost our entire first year of marriage apart while Jake was deployed to Bosnia, I was finally on my way to join him in Germany. I packed up our stuff and my suitcases and got everything ready for the movers to come. My mom threw me a little Going Away Party the week I left. I wanted to include those things on the first layout of our Life in Germany album.

This is the first time I have digitally designed pages before putting them together in physical form. I am waiting on my binder and the physical kit (Jade) for this project, but I’ve got the digital version of the kit so I’m laying out my pages using Photoshop. I’m liking how easy it is to open up a few cards I think I might want to use and move them around on the pages until I figure out where they look best. I may not do this with every layout once the physical kit is in my hands, but I like knowing which cards I’m going to use and where they will go. And obviously, once the cards are in the album, I will do all the journaling.

I also have other digital kits that I can look through on my computer to see if any of those cards will coordinate with my Jade kit. I used a couple cards from other kits on my title page and will most likely print those out here at home, which is the really nice thing about the digital kits. I can pick and choose the cards I want to use and print them as many times as I want.

This is fun! Looking back. Remembering. It was a hard year without Jake. We basically skipped that first year of figuring out what married life is all about and moved right into year two.

It was an adventure living in Europe, being an Army wife. Difficult at times. Very interesting. Besides living in another country with its own culture, the Army life is a culture all its own. So that was strange and different for me. But it’s definitely a time that I look back on fondly and I’m happy to finally be putting some of our memories into an album we can share with the kids.

Tschüss! ;)

throwback thursday


Since I’m getting ready to work on a Project Life® album about living in Germany with the Army in the late 90’s, I’ve been poring over old photos and journals. Thought I’d share this wintery photo today, which was taken in January 1997 out the kitchen window of our apartment. The weather there was pretty similar to Michigan’s. I remember some really pretty days like this one when the fog was thick and would stick to the trees.

throwback thursday


February 15, 1997. For Valentines Day, Jake took me on a little day trip from Baumholder, Germany to Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. We wandered around the old part of the city for a few hours and took pictures. Oh, the joys of living in Europe and being able to drive a couple hours in any direction and see amazing old cities.

life in germany album


I am very excited to start working on another project this year, an album of pictures and stories from our time in Germany with the Army. Project Life® style, of course. Today, I worked on designing a title page using a digital template and digital kits. The actual album will be the regular physical Project Life® album using cards and page protectors, but it helps to design it digitally ahead of time so I know which cards I want to use.

I used Photoshop to add text to one of my photos. Other text, like the dates we lived there, will be handwritten by me onto the actual cards.

For this page, I will use cards from the Coral, Jade and Cinnamon kits. I love that kits can be mixed and matched and go so well together.

Used on this layout:
Hello World card – Cinnamon core kit
Yellow, camera and grey cards – Jade core kit
“Recorded by” card – Coral core kit

All of these kits are available for download from DigitalProjectLife.com. You can use them for digital projects or even print the cards out for personal use in your albums.

One of the things I am so thankful for going into this is my journals. I wrote out a lot of the stuff we did when we lived in Germany and I also printed out emails that I wrote to my Mom detailing trips we took, so having all those things written down is going to be so helpful when putting this album together. I’m so excited to get into this more and remember everything as I put the pages together. It was a once in a lifetime experience for us and I think it’s about time to properly document it. :)

Project Life® is a system designed by Becky Higgins. For more information, click HERE.

AJAXed with AWP