The Land of Blues and Greens

We are home and all is well, although I would love to have found a way to bring the sea air home with us. I can still smell the sea on some of our chlothes and I want to go back. My heart needed this break--I didn't know how much until I got there. I've spent an hour this morning trying to compose a thank you letter to my husband's regional manager and the words just don't seem adequate.

Cozumel is a land in slow transition. The beach we visited as part of our excursion package was magnificent and beautiful--obviously cleaned up of the debris from last years hurricane season rather quickly. Our bus ride from what was once a bustling pier to the beach--approximately ten miles down the shore-line--showed us much of the destruction and continuing loss that is on-going in the region. We passed many abandoned bungelows--multi-story Mexican mansions that were obviously beautiful at one time...sitting empty and overgrown now. So sad. What was once acre after acre of lush green jungle-like landscape was destroyed by the salt-water flooding and is now a dead, brown, tangled mess. It will likely take a decade or more to be reborn.

The beach we visited-- "Playa Mia" was heavenly. The water is crystal clear and the sand is a beautiful sand color...clean and gritty. Perfect. The sun was bright and the sky only slightly cloudy...we couldn't have asked for a more perfect day at the beach. The water was cool and there were these almost-clear fish that swam all around us. We played in the water, laid on the beach sipping Diet Cokes and water, lunched at the cafe', and shopped at the traditional Mexican-style vendors. I got a couple of braids in my hair...something I've always wanted to do.

It was peaceful. Beautiful, refreshing, quiet and peaceful. It's easy to be in love in such a beautiful place.

It was hard to get back on the boat.

I talked to a veteran cruiser at breakfast the following morning and she told me all about how the pier looked before the hurricanes destroyed most of it. I'm sorry we missed it. I can't imagine the loss Cozumel must feel.

The colors of the ship, the sea, the sky, the beach, the people...have me transfixed. The journey has captured my attention and warmed me to a place beyond words. It's a feeling sorta like being in just captures you...and you never want to be free of it again.


Hello from the Gulf of Mexico

Just a quick note to say hello from the beautiful calm sunny perfectly blissful Gulf of Mexico, 428 land miles off Galveston, TX!! Girls, I have found the lap of luxury!! I forgot my USB cord so photos will have to wait til we get home...but oh wow! This is going to be so much fun to scrap!!

Today we are "at sea"...meaning laying on a chaise on the upper deck, catching rays and watching people. It's breezy and sunny and completely beautiful. We are having a blast...I got my Diet Coke with an umbrella and of course, forgot to take a photo so I may have to get another.

Our Captain is Norwegian and he makes a PA report at noon and six...he has a beautiful accent and quite a sense of humor. I am hoping we get to meet him this evening.

That's all for now. Wish ya'll were here...really I, Deb, Leigh Ann, Sabrina, Carla, Debby, Heather, Julie, Julie, Anita, Stephanie, Tracie, TIffany,...of goodness, everyone! We *need* a scrap-cruise.

Happy Day...because I can't remember what day it is...:)


My Southern Ways

I talked to my mother-in-law today. She's caring for my children while Joal and I go away for a vacation and from what I can tell, they are all happy as clams. My sweet mother-in-law raised and home schooled 3 children and is the consumate grandmother to 7. Not too long ago, she and Poppa relocated to Pennsylvania (from Mississippi). They are both originally from upstate New York and have been looking to return to the northeast for several years to be close to family. This is the first time my boys have been to their new home.

Gram works part time in a daycare and while the boys are visiting, she takes G with her to work. She told me today that he had a great time with the kids in her class and was making friends well. She also said that one of her co-workers commented on he says "yes mam" and "no mam" to all the ladies. Of course, she had to explain that her grandson lives in Tennessee where that's what little boys do, especially according to his Southern moma.

Darn straight we do.

I'm almost 34 years old but you can bet your last nickle that when I talk to my mother, I still say "yes mam" and "no mam". It's that way with any person who's significantly older than me. It's a sign of respect--something that's being neglected far too much these days, in my opinion.

I've been told "it's a southern thing" and I guess perhaps it is--one of the good things about the southern way. To me, it's a respect thing and I was quite proud of my boy for remembering too.

It set me to thinking about other things that make the south special. I'm often irritated at the way Hollywood portrays the South, especially Mississippi. For all it's problems and historical short-comings, Mississippi is *not* anything like it's generally portrayed in the movies. Yes, Mississppians speak English, have indoor plumbing, have air-conditioning, and do drive cars and wear shoes.

Anyway, I'm working on a list of my own of special traits that Southerners are especially known for, but while I was googling the topic of "Southernism" I ran across this piece--"My South" by Robert St John, the owner of The Purple Parrot Cafe, Crescent City Grill and Mahogany Bar in Hattiesburg, MS. Apparently, Mr. St John is also a newspaper food columnist for The Hattiesburg American.

Thought you might enjoy it too.

by Robert St. John

Thirty years ago I visited my first cousin in Virginia. While hanging out with his friend, the discussion turned to popular movies of the day. When I offered my two-cents on the authenticity and social relevance of the movie Billy Jack, one of the boys asked, in all seriousness; "Do you guys have movie theaters down there?"

To which I replied, "Yep. We wear shoes too."

Just three years ago, my wife and I were attending a food and wine seminar in Aspen, CO. We were seated with two couples from Las Vegas. One of the Glitter Gulch gals was amused and downright rude when I described our restaurant as a fine-dining restaurant.

"Mississippi doesn't have fine-dining restaurants!" she insisted and nudged her companion.

I fought back the strong desire to mention that she lived in the land that invented the 99-cent breakfast buffet. I wanted badly to defend my state, my region, and my restaurant with a 15-minute soliloquy and public relations rant that would surelychange her mind. It was at that precise moment that I was hit with a blinding jolt of enlightenment, and in a moment of complete and absolute clarity it dawned on me -- my South is the best-kept secret in the country. Why would I try to win this woman over? She might move down here.

I am always amused by Hollywood's interpretation of the South. We are still, on occasion, depicted as a collective group of sweaty, stupid, backwards-minded, racist rednecks. The South of movies and TV, the Hollywood South, is not my South.

This is my South:

My South is full of honest, hardworking people.

My South is the birthplace of blues and jazz, and rock n' roll. It has banjo pickers and fiddle players, but it also has BB King, Muddy Waters, the Allman Brothers, Emmylou Harris and of course, the King of Rock-n-Roll--Elvis Presley.

My South is hot and humid.

My South smells of newly mowed grass.

My South is kick the can, creek swimming, cane-pole fishing and bird hunting.

In my South, football is king and the Southeastern Conference is the kingdom.

My South is home to the most beautiful women on the planet.

In my South, soul food and country cooking are the same thing.

My South is full of fig preserves, cornbread, butter beans, fried chicken, grits and catfish. In my South we eat frog legs, caviar and truffles.

In my South, our transistor radios introduced us to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones at the same time they were introduced to the rest of the country.

In my South, grandmothers cook a big lunch every Sunday, so big that we call it dinner (supper comes later).

In my South, family matters--deeply.

My South is boiled shrimp, blackberry cobbler, peach ice cream, banana pudding and oatmeal cream pies.

In my South people put peanuts in bottles of Coca-Cola and hot sauce on almost everything.

In my South the tea is iced and almost as sweet as the women.

My South has air-conditioning.

My South is camellias, azaleas, wisteria and hydrangeas.

In my South, the only person that has to sit on the back of the bus is the last person that got on the bus.

In my South, people still say "Yes, ma'am," "No ma'am," "Please" and"Thank you."

In my South, we all wear shoes....most of the time.

My South is the best-kept secret in the country. Please continue to keep the keeps the idiots away.



This is my 250th blog entry. Woo Hoo!!

Opinions wanted!!

I want to use the bold letter stamps to paint phrases on my family room wall, probably over the closet doors along the interior wall. Considering that in this room we:

craft and scrapbook
conduct school
use the computer
eat sometimes
house the CD library
and do the laundry

I want words that are out-of-the-ordinary.

Something besides "LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE".
Something besides "DREAM, CREATE, INSPIRE"

I'm thinking...




I spent much of today in the Jeep...visiting 4 inde stamp/scrap stores and 4 craft chain stores. It was totally awesome!

The great thing about Clarksville (besides Fort Campbell) is that all the scrap and stamp spots are in a line and easy to get to.

My first stop was at Stamp Boo-Tique in Clarksville. Owner Boo Martin has what shall be known as "the coolest little basement in Clarksville"! Seriously, her basement store and playroom for scrappers and stampers is packed with goodies. Who knew that such fun could be had in a quiet neighborhood basement? I am a huge fan of cottage industries and this is why. I love people who don't let anything get in the way of their dreams. And clearly...Stamp Boo-Tique is a business born of love and passion for paper arts. I forgot to take a photo but will be posting directions to Stamp Boo-tique on The Scrapbook Channel's Scrapbook Stores in Mid-TN page.

My next stop was Memories in Bloom. Georgie and the ladies at MiB are really cool. The store is well-stocked...let me say that again...really well-stocked and I could have stayed a great deal longer than I did...and spent a ton more too. As it is, I took advantage of the everyday special--30% off the Quickuts stuff (with a few exceptions)--I picked up a Komfy Kutz cushion and 2 new dies. It ocurred to me today that QK is similar to punches, only less expensive and less likely to break. I really like that. (At one time I collected punches...and owned over 200.)

Another special thing I noticed about MiB is the sample pages. Samples are a very big deal to me...they are the mark of a great store in my opinion. Samples are displayed attractively throughout MiB. Each layout is labelled with the name of the designer and the products used. How much more can you ask for? Excellent work on display...Click HERE to see a larger photo of Memories in Bloom.

My next stop was Scraplanet. Unfortunately, they are closed on Mondays. One would think I would have thought to consult my own website for hours...but I goofed. Guess that means I'll have to go back soon to catch up with Stefanie and visit Scraplanet.

Clarksville is fortunate to have a Zaxby' of my favorite places for I indulged (but only a kid's meal after my experience with the bathing suit and the mirror this morning...:) ). Love Zaxby's sauce. I could roll around in that's so tasty.

Just down from Z is Hobby Lobby. The usual for HL. Didn't stay long. Didn't buy anything.

It's a little bit of a drive from Clarksville to Greenbriar, so I cranked up the tunes and set the cruise. Had it been a smidge warmer I would've rolled down the windows too! Felt good. Freedom is a beautiful thing!

Scrappuccino was my next stop. Lola always makes me feel right at home. I found one other die for the QK that I couldn't live without and was thrilled to learn that she offers the same 30% discount as MiB. That brings my die count up to 3 new ones today and my total collection to 4. Don't laugh. I'm trying to pace myself and only buy things I know I will use often. Can't wait to play!! Also at Scrappuccino, I found a large selection of 7Gypsies 97% Complete tags...I've never looked closely at those before...I really like them. I'm hoping to use them ASAP. Really cool to find an inexpensive, ready-to-use embellishment that makes the work of scrapbooking easier. Love those.

I'm partial to Scrappuccino because it's the closest scrap store to my house. And because it's a well-stocked, out-of-the-ordinary store. I always enjoy going there.

My next stop was what I refer to as "craft-store-mile" in Rivergate. Seriously...each of the big-3 have a store in Rivergate...JoAnn's, Michaels and Hobby Lobby.

I was tired by the time I got to JoAnn's...browser the fabric and ribbon/trims. Picked up a piece of fabric and a pattern to whip up a sarong-style swimsuit coverup...since there are none to be found anywhere. Granted, both times I have been shopping for anything water-wear related it's been snowing or sleeting outside...Anyway. It's a very simple project...the pattern says it should take an I'm planning about 4 for me to complete it. LOL! Wish me luck. I haven't sewn on fabric since my senior year in high school.

So, I delivered materials to the other 2 craft stores and blazed a trail back to my side of Nashville. Stopped for just a few minutes at Pier One...saw this egg tree in the window and drooled. It's beautiful...far more beautiful in real life than this photo shows. The colors are very soft and muted with a wash of pearl lustre over the entire thing. These colors just make me happy.

By the time I got home I had driven 170 miles!!

What an adventure!

J and I watched 24 together--something we rarely do. That show is intense. I usually prefer to watch it off the DVR so I can take breaks. It's really good...although Sean Astin creeps me out. Can't explain it.

Home. It's a wonerful thing. Took this photo of our downspout as I was leaving this morning. Thought it looked kinda cool and photo-worthy.

Happy Tuesday!

PS This thread made me so sad. Doesn't everyone know there's more than one way to scrap by now? Why the hostility towards "the other half"?? I'm thinking perhaps someone should write an article on "how to get the most from your magazine, even if the pages shown are not your style". It is possible, ya know??

Great news. Vanity motivates.

I have discovered the perfect eat-healthy-loose-weight-walk-on-the-tredmill-don't-give-up motivator:

Look in the mirror
while wearing a bathing suit.


Oh dear.

Serious motivation abounds.

Hop on Pop


"The Church Ladies"

I'm reading a new novel--"The Church Ladies" by Lisa E. Samson. In it is a snappy little quote that I can identify with:

"On the highway of motherhood I careen a few miles north of Peg Bundy and at least a hundred miles south of Elyse Keaton."

If you grew up in the early nineties...that one is classic.


Inspired by Ina

I ran across this cookbook--Barefoot Contessa Parties! by Ina Garten at the library and am enthralled by it. The photography is amazing and the recipes elegant and yet, not overwhelming. I am drawn to cookbooks that have pictures of every recipe...and this one has beautiful photos. Love that!

As soon as Mangos start coming in fresh, I'm going to try this recipe:

(makes about 2 cups)

2T good olive oil
1.5 cups diced yellow onion
2t peled minced fresh ginger
1.5t minced garlic
2 ripe mangos, peeled, seeded and small diced
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2t light brown sugar
1t kosher salt
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1-2t minced jalapeno pepper (if desired)
2t minced fresh mint leaves

Saute' olive oil, onions, and gingerin a large pan over medium-low heat for ten minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook for one more minute.

Add mangos and reduce heat to low and cook for ten more minutes.

Add orange juice, brown sugar, hot peppers, salt and pepper, and cook for ten more minutes or until the orange juice is reduced, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and add mint. Serve warm, at room tempeture or chilled.

Serve with grilled shrimp or chicken.

I'll leave out the jalapeno and likely serve it with chicken tacos.

Happy Thursday!!



This would be why I hang out at 2Peas.

This LO right here! by "SEWME".

It's snappy and fun...and totally out of the normal box.

Yes, those are pipe cleaners!

Aren't they just the coolest?

Pipe Cleaners!!

Why have I never thought of this before???


Confessions of a Valentines Day Cynic

It's Valentines Day.

My years in the flower business short-circuited my appreciation for this holiday.
I confess--I'm a Valentines cynic.

Over-priced flowers, gushy cards, chocolate, stuffed animals...I just don't buy into it. I appreciate a genuine romantic gesture any day of the year and am the recipient of them on a fairly regular basis. However, none of the romantic gestures I treasure the most have happened on Valentines Day nor did they involve flowers, chocolate or showmanship. To me, it's more about the thought than the gesture.

The truth is I am married to a very observant thoughtful man--and I am spoiled. The very first Christmas we spent together (1990) he demonstrated a level of thoughtful gift-giving that totally blew me away. We'd only known each other for 4 months. We were dating exclusively and very much in love. He knew of my love for crafting, so he ventured into the local craft store and purchased a large assortment of crafting supplies, including about 6 different colors of twist paper ribbon. I know there were other items in the box, but the twist paper ribbon stands out in my memory because it came directly from a conversation we'd had in which I had said something about never having the right color ribbon to finish my projects.

We were college freshmen. He couldn't have afforded the "grand gesture" gift even of he'd wanted to. I certainly didn't expect it. What he gave me--as simple as it was--said more about how he felt about me than any grand thoughtless gesture ever could. It told me that he listened to me and he wanted me to be able to do the things that made me happy. It was a gift *for* me...not one designed to look good to other people.

Maybe that explains why we were married by the following Christmas.

Through the years, he's continued to demonstrate the same sweet attention by giving me truly thoughtful gifts. To me, love is more about what you do on the other 364 days of the year than the grand gestures made because of the pressures of a commercial holiday.

The fact that he calls from Sonic on his way home to see if I want a drink and if I say "the usual", he knows what that means brings me great pleasure.

The fact that he abstains from drinking sweet tea when we go out means more to me than any flower ever could. He knows I l-o-v-e sweet iced tea but can't drink it anymore so we drink water together. I would never ask him to do such a thing, but he does it lovingly.

The fact that he warms the car before we go to church on cold Sunday mornings warms my heart as much as the rest of me.

The fact that he made his 6'5" frame sleep on a 5 foot sofa in my hospital room for many many nights when I was pregnant with Greyson says far more about his heart than a card ever could. The magnesium in my veins made me feel hot, so the AC was running constantly in my room...down to 60 degrees at times--in February. He bundled himself in layers and slept by my side every single night I was there.

Thoughtful gestures.

To me, chocolate and flowers are nice but somewhat superficial. Thoughtful gestures are the way to my heart every day of the year.

In the last few years, my cynicism has limited our Valentines Day festivities to the exchange of cards but this year was surprisingly different. Yesterday he brought home a gift certificate for a special salon day to have my hair and nails done before our trip. It is something I wanted to do but I wasn't sure I would have time. Now I will make the time. He knew I would enjoy it but wouldn’t make it a priority over the other things I need to do unless prompted.

I love that man.

Happy Tuesday.


Stop Scrapping the Shirt!

Just look at those colors! The flowers and the bottle booties...snappy and fun!! This is a piece of the cover of a Woman's Day magazine...isn't it fun to look at? I love it! It made me want to learn to knit so I could make some of those!

Growing up, when someone asked “what is your favorite color?”, I could never commit to one answer. I still can’t because I don’t have a favorite color--I love them all exuberantly.

Colors mesmerize me. Perhaps that’s why I enjoy colorful things so much…flowers, nature, Pottery Barn catalogs, textiles, gift wrap, carpet samples, decorative paper, magazines with full page photos, a new box of Crayons or colored pencils…I am consistently drawn to the simplest things based on their colors. I keep a Bazzill Paper swatch book on my desk, just to look at. I tell you this with hopes that you won’t laugh at me: I don’t use it to match paper. I just look at it. It cheers me. It makes me feel alive and vibrant.
I can’t wait to take in the colors of Mexico! The ruins, the exotic flowers, the beach, the boat…just looking is going to be a visual feast.

This love of color made living in an apartment for the first twelve years of my adult life irritatingly bland. I hope I never have to live in a place where the walls are colorless again. Perhaps those years in a colorless dessert are the driving force behind my desire to be surrounded by my house full of bold color.

This inability to commit to a higher admiration of a single color has produced several decorating nightmares. Right now, it’s preventing me from being able to nail down a color or even a group of colors for my kitchen paint and d├ęcor. I think I’m driving my husband/painter a little nuts. I just can’t pick a color. I vacillate without warning between the sage to moss family and the warm tans.

I want it to be something that goes with Fiestaware. “Goes with” but doesn’t overpower. Did I mention that my kitchen is currently two shades darker than UT Orange. It wasn’t my color choice. It’s too much for a kitchen. It doesn’t feel fresh and clean to me.

I’ve been thinking lately about how my tastes in colors have changed in the last few years.
I clearly remember hating my father’s brown suits as a child…brown just seemed like the color of mud. I hated a certain brown house that we lived in too, but now--I love brown. My bedroom walls are chocolate brown with white trim. The linens will eventually be a pale brown with bird-egg blue accents. I found a dress a few weeks ago in the same scheme and couldn’t resist it. The family of brown has a significant showing in my Bazzill selection and it has to be replenished often.

There was a time when I would have *never* purchased vintage Tupperware in those oh-so-fashionable colors of avocado, chocolate brown, burnt orange, brick red and flaming yellow…but now I can’t get enough of the stuff.

Red and pink in the same area used to turn my stomach, but it’s growing on me thanks to some snappy KI paper.

I’m using more sage and moss, some orange, a little pink, and even some funky yellows in my scrapping these days. It’s fun to branch out. I think perhaps my MOB side has been crowding the girl who enjoys a little pink now and again. J

Be bold. Embrace some new color trends. As Shelby Dredge says…”Stop scrapping the shirt!”*

This little color-wise pep talk is brought to you by Bazzill and my new theme: “There is no such thing as an ugly color--just colors that haven’t found their destiny yet.”

* Note: In her Bazzill class, Shelby Dredge encourages scrappers to “stop scrapping the shirt“…meaning stop letting yourself be boxed in by the colors in your photos (predominantly the colors in the shirts that people are wearing) and explore other color options. The scrap police will not fine you if your cardstock colors don’t match the shirts. I think her remarks are very insightful.

Have a colorful week!!


It's a Great Day to be Alive...

Yesterday was so cool. Cool, beyond that it snowed a in that I got to go to a crop for several hours and hang out with some friends. Made a card, played with the Quickutz, fooled around with some photos and had an excellent time. Debbie got 4 pages done! I'm so proud of her progress. Leigh Ann got a sweet page done that included her snappy ribbon from the ritzy ribbon store...we learned that one should never ever waste ribbon. Never. Lynette, whom I haven't seen in over a year, was there. Lynette has a passion for paper and is a woman with whom I can relate. She got a "little giddy" over Leigh Ann's Japanese Hole Punch!

We had lunch at this colorful little El Salvadorian cafe in the Little Mexico part of Nashville. The food was unique and wonderful, much like the company. It was Leigh Ann's idea to go there (she's been before) and she ordered for me...and it was excellent. Spicy, tasty, hot, cheesy...can't go wrong there. I think we should expand our group and go about once a month!!

I'm off to find a recipe forTomatillo Salsa...

Thanks girls for a great day! Let's do it again ASAP!


Lost...and driving me crazy!! and Found!!

Every day I read the boards at 2Peas, some blogs--ok lots of blogs, and browse a couple of other sb gallery sites.

Last week I saw a beautiful wreath made of faux berries from Michaels that someone had added white metal mini-frames to. The berries are varying shades of apple and sage green. It's very fresh and beautiful. There may have been some ribbon...but I'm not positive.

Anyway, I liked it so much that I assembled all the stuff to recreate it...but now I can't remember where I saw it.

I could do it without the photo but I'd like to post photos of mine here and credit the person who made the other one...can't do that if I can't find the original. It's making me crazy.

I was up until 1:20 am going thru my history files from last week. Now I'm just grumpy and annoyed.

If you've seen any ideas like this on a blog or scrapping site lately...please speak up. I surely would appreciate it.

Happy Friday everyone...and happy snow tomorrow!!

EDIT to ADD: The peas helped me find it. (Photo imported above) It's not quite what I remembered (Imagine that!) but at least we found what I thought I saw. Turns out I saw it at this blog, after she found it on this site, who copied it from Making Memories.


Must be doin' som'thin' right...

Sorry about the cheesy use of song titles lately...can't help it.

Funny thing just happened while we were doing some school work...made me laugh out loud.

Ju and I were conducting our daily back-and-forth talk thru the children's catechism and G was sitting in my lap. This is pretty SOP for school for us, so G has picked up quite a bit just by observing. Today as we were discussing the catechism q-and-a, G knew all the answers of the first 4 questions ans was able to say them right along with Ju.

Q1 Who made you?
A God

Q2 What else did God make?
A God made all things.

Q3 Why did God make you and all things?
A For his own glory.

Q4 How can you glorify God?
A By loving him and doing what he commands.

Ju and I continued on...until Q10.

Q10 is "Where is God?"
The answer is "God is everywhere."
But G piped up and said "I don't know."


Then we get down to Q14--our new one for this time, Q14 is "Where do you learn how to love and obey God?"

The answer is "In the Bible alone."

Being the first time we've done Q14 Ju didn't know the official answer and I didn't give it to him immediately. I wondered what he would say.

His answer: "School"

Some days are good...

PS If you love wonderful creative layouts, you must see this one!! It's very likely the most excellent thing I have seen in a while. It's made set down the Diet Dr Pepper and lean in close to the screen to see every detail! Don't miss it. Does anyone know who ADJ is??

Thoughts on 2Peas

There’s an interesting thread on 2Peas today regarding privacy, personal information being published in the scrapping magazines and the wisdom (or lack or if) in posting photos of our children on line, where they could be used for less-than-good purposes by sick strangers.
I admit to being on the fence about this issue.

I have had 2 layouts published in Memory Makers Magazine. It’s a common practice of MM to list the name and hometown of the layout designer beside each work they publish. I read in an interview with founding editor Michelle Gerbrandt that explained their reasons. She said they like to do this because it reminds readers that MM is a family magazine and it’s contributor base is comprised of "normal scrapbookers" from all over the globe. I agree with Michelle.

When I read a magazine, I look for the names. It’s a habit. There are a handful of artists who have been regular contributors to the magazines I read long enough that I *recognize* their children on-sight or their style without the prompting of the name listing. The scrapbook publishing community is relatively small. Some of the artists who have been published a great deal are now my friends "in real life". It gives me an extra special thrill to see their work published. Hang around long enough and you start to connect. With this in mind, we have to consider the risks of exposure.

While the scrapping community is relatively tame, the big big world outside us has plenty of unsavory characters who would like to take advantage of our free information. Even a minimally-skilled detective-type can use google and the online phonebooks to connect names and cities and addresses. I have a pretty uncommon last name. If you know my hometown, you can google my name (first and last) alongside my hometown and come up with four entries for people with this name. Along with addresses. So, any half-wit stalker can show up on my doorstep. Isn’t that reassuring?

On the flip side, we live in a world of strangers. I don’t know all my neighbors--perhaps I could already be living in close proximity to an unsavory character already.

So you see the dilemma. Is the risk of possible exposure outweighed by the thrill and reward of publication and professional success?

I think it is a worthy consideration. I walk a fine line, even here on the blog and at 2Peas. If you read my blog (and you obviously do--thank you) you’ll see references to my husband and children. When I first started blogging, I used an uppercase J to refer to my husband and a lowercase j to refer to my son. While it made sense to me, not everyone understood, so I started using names for a while. If you browse thru my gallery at 2Peas, you can easily spot the names of all my family members in the journaling on my pages…so I decided that was kinda silly to hide them in one place and use them in another…when the two are connected.

I am careful with my children. There are certain parks we don’t frequent because the “mommy-safety-sensor” dings in my head while we are there. When we lived in the apartment, I was constantly not answering the door because I didn’t know the person on the other side. I don’t use the same routes going to the places I go all the time--the bank, the grocery, the library, the park. I am alert and cautious when we are out together.

I am a stickler for caution when we are traveling. We don’t stop at rest areas or gas stations for breaks (obviously we get gas, but the children don‘t leave the car and I use the pay-at-the-pump feature)…we take potty breaks at Starbucks, WalMart, Target or a grocery store because these are places where we look less like tourist targets. It’s pretty common to see a woman and her children in WalMart so we don’t stand out there.

It’s a fine line to walk. For me, the litmus test with what I write here and at 2Peas is my comfort with someone I just met having this information. I read my own writing with that in mind…”would I be uncomfortable saying this to someone I just met?”

It’s not my intention to provide sick people with ammunition for their bad behavior but at the same time I don’t want to live in a cave without contact with the outside world because I fear what someone somewhere could conceivably do with what I post (photos, words). I will not be held captive by “what if” in most areas of my life. I will use common sense, that built-in-mommy-safety-sensor in my head and take certain precautionary measures, but I won’t hide. If we all hide, the people with bad behavior win.

One of the things in the thread at 2Peas that stood out to me is the large number of posters who said they wanted to post layouts but wouldn’t because they didn’t want photos of their children or grand children on the web. I respect that but had to resist the urge to offer alternative suggestions. Why not post a LO without the photos attached? Why not blur or mask the faces? Wouldn’t that be the best of both options? You get to share your work without revealing faces.

Just a thought.

Be safe.


Baby, If You're Good to Go...We'll Go Down to Mexico!!

With gratitude to Toby Keith for the use of his song, I am counting the days until our cruise.

Can you hear me humming..."baby, if you're good to go, we'll go down to Mexico, get a place in Cabo, and kick back in the sand..."

It's thirty-something degrees here and my hands have been cold for days. My back yard is a mudslide and everytime the boys step out into it, they suddenly get covered with brown mud. (Funny. It's almost like a magnetic thing.)

Cloudy, rainy. Cold.

I can't wait to sprawl on the beach behind a pair of shades and watch the waves roll in. I can't wait to taste the sea and hear the spray. I'm just going to sit there and do nothing.

That's right. Not a stinking thing.

There will no floor to vacuum.
There will be no meals to fix and clean up after.
There will be no laundry.
There will be no second grade school work to plan and execute.
There will be no little boys in my care. Just a wonderful man to be with.
There will be no library fines.
There will be no recycling to do.
There will be no shopping...wait. Nix that. There will be shopping...just not grocery shopping.
There will be no phones, no work, no scrapbooking, no neighbors, no neighbor's pets.

I will sit and enjoy the nothingness. The blue sky and the sand between my toes. I will not whine or be whined at. I will listen quietly to the waves rolling in and I will not say "shhhh" to anyone. I will admire the place I love--the beach--for it's nearness to God and for it's blissful serenity.

I have a million things to do between now and then and about a thousand miles to drive, but it will be worth every step and every mile, for a day on the beach in Cozumel and three days on a magnificent boat.

Somebody tell my baby I am "good to go...".


That's Why They Call Me the Moma

See this? This is a major acquisition in the world of my almost-ten year old. And I, the Moma, scored it.

For a buck.

On Ebay.

Do you know how happy this is going to make him?? Julian has collected Rescue Heroes since well before the RH clan was sold to Fisher Price. He has every single hero and we all know them by name. When he has a few moments of organized thought, he arranges them in troop formation in his room. It's a sight to behold!

For a while, when you purchased a guy, (or girl) you got a short video to go with it. We wore the tape on 4 videos completely raw. The shows (2 eps per tape) were short, had a lesson and very action-oriented. This is perhaps the best children's show ever written, beyond Veggie Tales and maybe Theodore the Tugboat.

A couple years after we startedbuying guys, the company switched from video to DVD. We've purchased a few extra guys "for G" just so we could have the DVD.

I even have a few pages in the scrapbooks about "the guys".

One day in the grocery, I spotted a DVD m-o-v-i-e. It was $20 and I never impulse $20 at the grocery...but let me tell you...I did that day. We take "the guys" very seriously!

That disk got played and played with until it got so scratched up that it would not play anymore. It was played so often that we all know every line...and still love it.

So, a few days ago J found the cover ofthe deceased copy of the movie in the toy bin and was lamentingthe loss of the I had a thought.


Sure enough. There it was. For a buck!

I haven't told him yet. I'm going to wait until it arrives and I've had a chance to make sure it plays OK before I show him. He's going to be thrilled! I can't wait.

In other simply have to check out my friend Nancy Rose's blog. She has been doing some excellent work-- am especially drawn to her wedding book created using Basic Grey's Black Tie line. I think if more peole had seen this demonstration of use for Black Tie...they wouldn't be discontinuing the line. It's that excellent! It made me "see the light" about Black Tie. Now I'm gonna have to try to find some.

I got word today from the fab Shelby Dredge at Embellish Online that I am going to be working in her booth at the CK Convention at Opryland in April (which just happens to fall on my birthday!!) Shelby and her husband own a company called Embellish It and they sell Bazzill by the ton and Basic Grey products, among other things. I worked with them last year and had a great time. One can't help but have fun in a booth full of Bazzill and BG, right!!

Sonic's calling my name...I think I'm going to get a Diet Cherry Sprite to calm my somewhat frayed nerves from today. Sometimes my favorite second grader can be a huge challenge to my inner calm.

Happy Wednesday!!

2Peas Challenge: 10 Things that Bug Me

The 2Peas challenge today is to list 10 things that bug me.

1. sloppy handwriting
2. an unvacuumed floor
3. uncomfortable shoes
4. putting on a pair of jeans that are still slightly damp
5. unsweetened tea...that should be a criminal offense!
6. that my printer is smart enough to know when I am using store-brand ink cartridges and tells me it's not smart.
7. boys who fart and then laugh about it (I have 2!)
8. overpriced concessions at the movies
9. AOL
10. people who look at my son and only see his differences

and one more because it's my list:

11. the fact that sugar-free chocolate has a chemical in it that creates intestinal distress. Shouldn't the fact that I have to eat (mostly) sugar-free chocolate be punishment enough???


Gently Used Children's Books Needed

Does anyone know where I can find some low-cost gently-used children's books?

For a few months I have been helping out as the parent-volunteer in G's sunday school class. It's probably the most fun hour-and-a-half of my week! G and his pals are 2.5 to 3 years old and all learning to talk and color and sign and be a tiny bit independent...and they are adorable. Myself and the teacher (Mr. Doug) and sometimes one other parent volunteer have about 12-15 little ones for about an hour. G has a great time and has learned a great deal lately. Since he doesn't say the "S" sound yet, G refers to it as "wunny wool". (Sunny School)

I've learned quite a bit from watching our little guys. Yesterday I spent several minutes trying to figure out what one of my little boys was sayingthe name of his dog sounded like Zsa Zsa (as in Gabor?) when he said it...but I finally realized it was Sasha. We were discussing pets...he was happy when I finally figured out what he was saying.

I think G is fascinated with a little girl named Kate. She always wears pretty little dresses and she's very girlie. I don't think he gets it. But he likes to look at her shiney shoes and touch her hairbow.

Our church is famous for having many large families and while I love that about it, it also means that we are always short on help in the nursury and preschool wings. There are more kids than available parents! It's a great but challenging problem to have.

Yesterday I was noticing how worn our book collection is looking. Tattered is the word. Some of them really need to be retired as they have long ago outlived their usefulness. While I would love to run over to Books a Million and spend a few hundred dollars on all new book, that's not exactly feesible right now. Darn it. That's something I would have to plan for and we need books pronto. So, now I am on the hunt for a source for low-cost, new or used books.

I've sent a note to the other parents in hopes that they will help out. Even one or two books from each family will make a huge dent in the problem, but like I said, most of our families have several children and may or may not be able to contribute right away. I would love to find a source of my own. It's still too cold for garage sales here. When spring hits, I'm sure that will be a good source. Ideas??

Thanks and happy Monday.


Tax Day Nerves

I'm very nervous today.
Today is "tax day" at our house.
(Cue durge music.)

J's taking off early to go sit with our tax accountant while he e-files our 2005 tax return to the United States Government. It usually takes about an hour to plug in all the numbers and come up with our fate. Well, maybe fate is a little strong. ...come up with our sentence.

See J is an inde contractor--which is both a good and bad thing. Good in that we have several extra deductions. Bad in that we pay more than a person who is not an inde contractor. Good in that he has a great deal of freedom by working this way and he's very good at it. Bad in that there's less of a safety net to protect our financial situation.

So, every year "tax day" bring some trepidation to me. I am not against taxation, although I would prefer that the government spent less of my money and spent it far more wisely. I don't mind paying taxes for things like roads, military, fire, police, courts, schools, etc. There are things I do mind my tax dollars paying for--but that's another blog completely.

The thing is...I see the lines on his paycheck every week that indicate how much was taken out of his check to be paid in to his escrow for quarterly taxes. It's a large amount. But fine. It's done. Just please don't tell me that after all those dollars that have already been paid, we still have to pay more. That will really ruin my day. My week.

As Dave says..."It's my money!" Well, technically "our money", but you know what I mean.


A refund would be nice, although I hate the concept of the government accepting "too much" and getting to use it freely. A bill would be very irritating. I'll be satisfied if we get neither (a refund or a bill for more).

One of the interesting facts that we learned...J drove almost 55,ooo miles for work this past year. Yes. You read that right. Fifty five Thousand Miles. When you consider that he still took several weeks off...that's more than a thousand miles a week.

We also tallied the Starbuck expenditures...and I tallied the scrapbooking purchases. We are guilty of some serious enjoyment.

So, happy tax day. I hope.


Creativity vs Creepy

A new magazine called to me from the magazine rack at my favorite grocery a few nights ago. It's called Paper Made Easy. I browsed thru it and one of the things that jumped out at me was an article called "What's in Store?". The author goes to a certain non-sb store and picks out a bunch of non-sb products that she and her designers then attempt to morph the non-sb embellishments into creative genius. It's a great idea for an article series, even tho it has been done by just about every other scrapping and craft mag around. I'm all for creativity being challenged, but this card kinda creeped me out.

Yes. Those sunflower leaves are really fake fingernails.


In other news, I am the happy-as-a-clam new owner of a Quickutz die cutting tool. I've been slowly won-over by my friend Leigh Ann about the handiness of said tool, so when a fellow pea decided to upgrade to the pink handle and offered to sell me her old blue one at a huge discount, I couldn't resist!! Since I have no plans to obsessively collect dies and alphabets, I couldn't see paying so much for one tool...but, at a discount...I'm there.

So far, I have one die. The photo turns. It's cool to be able to cut photo turns like that. Very cool. I am hoping to find some of the tag dies locally. Those are cool too.

I think the QK is the punch of the new era. It's sleeker, weighs less than a bunch of punches and eventually costs less. Remember when people collected punches by the truckload? I do. I was one.

Lastly, I found this photo of one of the beaches in Cozumel.

Can I just say...


This is going to be really amazing.

Happy Thursday!


New Cards!

I've been on a card spree lately...thought I would post a few.

The leaf stamp is from The Angel Company. I am loving it--it's intentionally uneven so it really looks like a leafy skeleton. I have a whole set. Blue rubber. Very cool. The "thanks" stamp is fromStampin' Up!

Betcha Didn't Know...

Betcha Didn't Know that one medium-sized container of baby powder is enough to completely cover a large bathroom, living room and kitchen.

And one almost-three-year-old boy who thinks he's having some serious fun.

Betcha didn't know that it's almost impossible to vacuum baby powder. It just makes plumes and then re-settles.

Betcha didn't know that it's nearly impossible to wipe baby powder off any hard surface with a damp cloth. It's become a paste-like schmere.

Betcha didn't know that after breathing in too much baby powder, it begins to stink. Even if you used to love the smell.

Betcha didn't know that even if you do manage to coerce most of the baby powder piles out of the navy blue'll still have footprints forever.

Word to the wise.
When the baby can lift the baby powder, get rid of it f-a-s-t.
The powder, I mean.
Or else the decision to keep it will be one you come to regret in a dusty, white-covered way.

Not that I would know, of course.