Monthly Archives: February 2014

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around here


– It’s still winter. :P Another “snow day” yesterday has our count up to #12. At this point, the district may have to add a few days on to the school year depending on what happens in the state legislature. If they decide to let schools make up hours, then we’re only a couple hours behind at this point. Adding a half hour on to a few school days sounds much better than stretching the school year into the middle of June. Have to wait and see what happens. Especially if this endless winter continues and we have more days off.

– Zach was all about 80’s music this week. With an iTunes gift card, he downloaded several songs and has them on repeat. “Take on Me”, “Sunglasses at Night”, “Africa”. All great songs. I really think Zach was born in the wrong generation.

– Got my first Studio Calico kit this week. Sugar Rush. I’ve seen so many people share their pages using this kit this month and I had never used Studio Calico kits before, so I decided to try one. Such cute cards. Will share pages when I put some together.

– Chloe’s class is off to the Grand Rapids Symphony today. I can vaguely remember going with my class when I was her age. Such a great thing for the kids to be exposed to. Especially as they’re about to enter Middle School (Yikes!) and some will be starting band.

– Speaking of Yikes!, we received a letter in the mail yesterday from the high school with information on Freshman Orientation! Not quite prepared to see that. Time, please slow down.

– Going to see the movie The Son of God this weekend. Produced by the same people who made The Bible miniseries that aired last spring. Looking forward to seeing how they do with it.

Have a wonderful weekend!

a little help from Scrivener


I’m a little obsessed with the new writing program I downloaded this week, Scrivener 2. I wish I’d had it when I started writing my book, but now that I do, it will help me format and design my book and export it for print publishing as well as e-book publication. I’m very excited to have found this program because book design can be quite intimidating when you’ve never done it before and don’t quite know where to start. And at a price of less than $50, it can’t be beat. (This post is not sponsored by Scrivener, by the way. I’m just a fan.) ;)

This week, I’ve been a little under the weather, so several hours each day, I’ve been in front of my computer working on my book. Jake says if I don’t stop editing, I will have whittled it away to nothing. Yes, I admit, I can’t stop reading through it, looking for things that need “fixed”, making sure it flows. I just want it to be the best it can be.

Formatting is interesting. There are lots of decisions to make. Line spacing. Font. Font size. Margins. Gutters. Front matter. I’m learning all sorts of things I didn’t know before about book design, which is actually pretty fun for me.

So if I’m a little quiet around here, I blame it entirely on Scrivener.

monday’s list


Had a really nice weekend. I feel like I got quite a few things accomplished, but still had time to kick my feet up and relax. I can’t believe we’re in the final stretch of February! Here’s what our weekend looked like:

• Finished the final edit (I hope!) on my book. I’m so excited about this. I want you guys to read it and hope that will be a reality very soon.

• Made some yummy homemade meals – tacos Friday, turkey burgers Saturday, salmon Sunday. After our big “grocery date” earlier in the week, we had some meals planned, which is rare for us. We are notorious for having no plan and opting for ordering out. But we want to make more meals at home. Saves us money and all those fast food calories.

• More scanning of Grandma’s negatives. Discovered more little treasures that I’ve never seen before. Loving this whole process. I will be so sad when I get to the last roll, but that won’t be for quite a while at the pace I’m going.

That’s me in red with the knee highs. Lovely. And I love this one of my cousin Traci with Grandma’s shadow cast over her.

• Date day! The kids spent Saturday night at the farm with Grandpa and Grandma so Jake and I could get up early and travel to IKEA (the nearest one is a couple hours from here). We made a plan to meet Heather + Jeff and the girls for lunch after (they live near IKEA. Lucky them!). They ended up meeting us at the store and walking around in there with us for a couple hours, then we had a yummy lunch at Chili’s. The girls were so cute and funny. Violet made such funny little faces that were cracking me up. Scarlett was all huggy with Jake and then she was dancing in her seat at lunch so I joined in. So cute.

• Our Sunday evening was spent putting together lots of stuff – bookcases, side tables, lamps. Had to go pick up a few EXPEDIT bookcases while we were there. Jake just told me the other day he heard they are discontinuing the EXPEDITS in their current form, renaming them and making the wood around the outer edge thinner. Saves them money and uses less trees. I prefer the look of them now, so I wanted to snatch some up before they start making them the new way in a couple months.

• Today, we started the week off with a sicky girl, who I kept home from school. Hoping a day of rest will be enough.

Lots to look forward to this week. Dinner with my dear friend, Jen. An open house at Jake’s work. Chloe’s class field trip to the Grand Rapids Symphony. Another gymnastics meet. And then it’s March!

Have a wonderful week, everyone! <3

lightness


One afternoon, during our Florida vacation, while some were napping and others were swimming, I had some time to reflect on the trip and think about the things that I had been trying not to think about all week (it was only a month or so after Dave’s funeral and my mind was still very much on the events of that day). I sat on the balcony sipping coffee, watching Chloe and our niece, Scarlett, swimming down below, and it struck me how carefree and light things are for them.

Oh, how I longed to feel that lightness again.

If only I could guard their little hearts from ever having to feel the kind of heartbreak I have felt. I prayed then that God would spare them that and lead them each to the right man, one who will cherish and adore them and treat them right.

Before I knew it, tears were falling down my cheeks.

It’s difficult to look back at the girl I was twenty years ago, so young and naive, so blind to everything but him. So focused on future plans that I didn’t notice what was going on around me. I want to shake that girl and yell “Wake up!” I guess with age and experience come clarity and understanding. I can look back now and see things so differently. We were just kids. I was only 8 years older than Chloe is now. What? So young. But in all our vast teenage wisdom, we thought we knew what we wanted.

God knew better.

I thought I felt it then … the lightness. Before everything went wrong. I think it was there at times, in the happier moments. I’m starting to accept that there were some of those. But for all these years, it was just easier to make myself believe that it was all a lie, that there was no love there at all. It was the only way I could move on. But it wasn’t true. I know that now.

I’m beginning to let a little thankfulness seep through as the memories flow – for those happy moments, for the years of friendship that led to us. I choose not to focus on the bad. I’ve focused on that enough over the years. The things we go through change us and, while my heart still feels heavy over it all, hopefully, one day, it will feel a little of that lightness again.

throwback thursday


A very good verse to remember. Be kind. Show compassion. Forgive. Things to think about and put into action in our lives.

(This isn’t an old photo. It was taken last Sunday. But this is a little plaque that my mom has had for a while, so I thought it worked for my “throwback Thursday”.)

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. :)

monday’s list


• Friday, I picked Zach up from school and we went to the Valentines Party in Chloe’s class. So fun. This is their last big party of the year so I’m glad we could go. Lots of games and sugary treats and the whole class sneakily made a “heart attack” for their teacher (a huge red heart with a bunch of small pink hearts glued to it containing notes from each student. Something one of the moms saw on Pinterest). ;)

• Saturday, Chloe spent the day with Grandma – a little shopping day, post birthday. She’s totally girly, loves to shop, loves clothes. It was “the best day ever” according to her.

• While Chloe was shopping, Zach requested that he and I watch the movie Wall-E together. When your teenage son asks you to sit on the couch with him and watch a Disney movie, you don’t say “I’m too busy”, you just do it! Love that movie. Especially the musical score. I’m such a sucker for movie music.

• Scanned some more Grandma negatives this weekend! Grandma took thousands of pictures in her lifetime. I think I’m on my fourth “pack” of negatives. She stored the negatives for individual rolls of film in the larger envelopes she received her photo prints in. Each big envelope contains at least 36 rolls of film, each with anywhere from 12-20 images per roll. So, on average, probably around 600 images in one big envelope/pack of negatives. There are three plastic shoebox containers with many many more packs, so I’ve really just scratched the surface.

• Had a nice lunch at my parents’ farm on Sunday, then we headed to Kellogg Arena for Chloe’s gymnastics meet. She did awesome and got 3 blue ribbons (1st) and 1 red (2nd). Very proud of our girl!

• As this new week begins, my plan is to tackle one final read-through of my book with the intention of looking for typos, grammatical errors, etc. Then it’s on to formatting and cover design. Then … yikes … launching the book. I’m kind of nervous just typing that. As always, I will keep you updated as that day approaches. ;)

• I will end today with a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to my dear friend Beth, who wed her sweetheart, Jeff, on Valentines day. Looking forward to celebrating with them at a reception here in Michigan this summer. <3

happy scanning

It’s been one of those weeks. Started the week on a positive note with good intentions. Ended the week feeling a bit defeated. Lots of parenting challenges. Emotional. Exhausted. The never-ending winter doesn’t help at all.

The bright spot in my week has been scanning more of my Grandma’s old negatives and coming across many little gems. Here are just a few favorites:

Many of the ones I’ve been scanning I have seen before. My mom has a lot of photos that she inherited when my Grandma died, ones that were specifically of our family. But I am loving the everyday photos she took. Ones I had never seen before. Like the winter one above, top right corner. If there had been hashtags back then, that could have been Grandma’s most popular one. It’s funny to see so many photos she took out the window or out the door of their house. I do the exact same thing.

I am also so happy to see a lot of photos of my cousins and aunts and uncles that I have never seen before. We moved from Ohio to Michigan when I was five years old, so there are many pictures Grandma took when we weren’t around. Lots taken when we were visiting, too, but I wasn’t there for a lot of stuff. It’s fun to fill in the blanks a bit.

I think this one is my favorite so far. Me and my Grandpa. I don’t remember him smiling too often, so this makes me happy.

Happy Valentines Day!

Tech info, in case anyone’ s interested:
I am using an Epson Perfection V100 Photo Scanner that I have had forever. It has a special tray insert for negatives. I am scanning in the 35mm film at 1200 dpi and the old 110 film at 2400 dpi. Takes forever (like 6-8 minutes per strip for the 35mm and 10+ minutes for the 110 film) but I am resizing each photo to a 5×7 at 300 dpi so I want the scanned image to be large enough to size down. Especially that tiny 110 film. Why 5×7? Well, I know I’ll probably never blow any of these photos up to poster size and 5×7 is probably the largest size I would ever print them at.

The quality isn’t always the best. The negatives are old and some are a bit discolored. But Photoshop helps a lot with touching them up. And just having them digital and backed up makes me so happy.

11 on the 11th!

Today, our girl is 11. My almost Valentines baby. Born during a blizzard. Such a sweet little thing.

And now she’s finishing up her last year of elementary school and will soon be starting middle school. The time is flying by.

We did a couple special things for her this past weekend. Friday, we went to see the Lego movie with Grandma. Then Saturday afternoon, we picked up her best friend and met Grandma, Uncle Tim and Uncle Rick at Craigs Cruisers. Yummy buffet and lots and lots of games. I think she loved it!

Happy Birthday, Chloe Belle! We love you so. <3

Project Life | January layouts


A month of Project Life®. Complete! I gotta say that feels good.

Today, Becky shared layouts from all the Project Life® Creative Team over on her blog. For me, it is so fun getting to know the girls through their layouts and blogs and I am constantly inspired by their pages and projects.

And without further ado, here are my layouts for 2014 so far:

WEEK 1
The week of New Years party, family movie night, a family Christmas and a snow storm.

Click image for slightly larger version

Converted a few of my pictures to black and white this week to keep it from looking too busy. Also, someone pinned one of my pages from last month saying they liked how I incorporated the day of the week into my journaling with the box around it. Sometimes I use the day as a header at the top of the card. And I don’t always include every day of the week in my journaling. If there was a day when not much happened, then I skip it (you will see that in a couple of the layouts below). But I like the look of the boxes around the days. I’m very chronological with my albums, so I want to see what happened on a particular day.

Also, thank you to those that complimented my handwriting. You are all so sweet.

WEEK 2
This was the week of a zillion snow days and a bad case of the flu (for me).

Click image for slightly larger version

Totally miserable and didn’t take a ton of pictures, so I decided to include posters of some of the movies we watched along with the few photos that I did take. This was also the week I needed to send in some of my Project Life® pages so that was a bit of a challenge. You should have seen me trying to photograph my pages. I was all shaky with a fever and the chills. It’s a wonder any of those first submissions were in focus at all. One almost didn’t get photographed (and it ended up being the one Becky shared on her blog last month!). While walking from one room to the other with a few layouts in hand, I must have tipped one of the pages upside down as I walked and a photo fell out of the page protector. I could not find it anywhere and I was so weak from being sick, I just had no energy to look behind or under furniture. Chloe came to the rescue and found it for me right away. She’s my hero. :)

WEEK 3
This was the week of a visit from my friend Kelle, Chloe’s gymnastics meet and Uncle Ted’s memorial service.

Click image for slightly larger version

This week I kept everything pretty neutral and decided to change up the day of the week headers. Just trying it out, but I think I like the boxes around the days much better.

Jake’s Uncle Ted passed away the week before, but this was the week of his memorial. I included his obituary as well as a nice card from the digital Remembrance kit that I had printed as a photo.

WEEK 4
This was the week of dentist appointments, an ice skating field trip for Zach’s class and more winter storms.

Click image for slightly larger version

This was kind of a fun layout since one of the photos (the office) was taken by Jake and two (the ice skating rink) were taken by Zach. I also included a fun little text conversation I had with Zach. And, as you can see, I went back to boxes around the days of the week again. ;)

I also used paper from the digital version of the Midnight kit that matched the title card and cropped and resized it to a 4×6 for that bottom right slot to balance the page. Had that one printed as a photo as well.

Wrote directly onto some of my photos this week with one of the Project Life pens (size 5). Dried in a few seconds. No smears. Worked great!

Like I’ve mentioned before, being on the Creative Team this year is really giving me the kick in the butt I need to keep up with my album and keep things current. I am loving the process and can’t wait to share more with you all.

Thanks for visiting!

Everything is awesome! (Anyone else see the Lego movie this week?) ;)



Project Life® is a system created by Becky Higgins. For lots more info, check out the website.

AJAXed with AWP