Boys--6 Mom--0

Ever feel like you can't win? Gosh, once in a while my boys just run me ragged. Super parent, I am not, but I generally manage to outlast, outwit and outsmart a 3 year old and a ten year old.

Not today.

Today I am the fire-putter-outer. I can't actually get anything accomplished because I am running around putting out all these tiny little fires that they keep creating. I got one bathroom cleaned up (my Mom is coming afterall) only to find that G made a huge mess in the other one with his toothpaste.

Julian's bed is made after three tries, but G's closet is a disaster.

I ran the dishwasher at 2:15 am, thinking I could put them away when I got up. No such luck. The soap clumped in the dispenser and didn't get used in the wash cycle. So the dishes are gross and have to be run again.

Julian lost a tooth last night and G busted a lip. Julian has a bruise under one eye from a sinus problem he's been having. They look like battle children. Not to mention G took a writing pen to his legs last night. Purple ink. Lovely, dear.

My car needs to be vacuumed but the yard needs attention more. Why has it taken 2 years for us to get the fort painted?

Just one of those days...can't seem to catch up.

On the bright side, I did make one crock pot of chicken veggie soup that turned out good. I think I need a larger crock pot tho. The peas didn't fit. The boys woke up smelling it through the house this morning...and wanted some so badly that I let them have small bowls of soup for breakfast. Funny. That may be the healthiest breakfast they've had recently. We usually do oatmeal or cereal.

Well, I'm rambling. Joal just called. His first presentation this morning went really well. He said he wished I was there. HeHeeeHeee. This time tomorrow I will be there!!

I checked and there's a scrapbook stores about two miles from the hotel. How lucky is that??

Gotta run. The car alarm is going off. Funny. He was supposed to be taking out the trash. I bet the neighbors talk about us.

Happy Friday.


Fried Pies Rule in Georgia

NPR's All Things Considered is something I love and hate. Sometimes their liberal bias makes me a little ill and twisted but sometimes they run the coolest humanitarian stories.


If you want to feel good, have a nice little laugh and be a witness to the way the government is supposed to run, be sure to listen to the story that ran yesterday about Mrs. Willie Watts' Fried Pies in Georgia. You can just tell...that is a picture of southern woman gentility. Polite, using her gifts for her family, meeting needs of those around her as best she can, praying God's blessing on those who caused her setback. I'm betting she's a powerhouse of a peach!

Seriously, this is sweet. Almost as sweet as the topic.

Have you really lived a full life if you haven't experienced a fried peach pie?
I just don't think so.

My first thought when I heard this story yesterday afternoon was "pies over politics". That's apparently the key to get things moving on along in the Georgia legislature...bribe them with fried pies.

Wonder if that would work in Tennessee??

Love Like a Freight Train

When I was 18, I met a boy.
We went on a date.
We fell headlong into love.
We got married at 19.
Love hit us like a freight train.
Fast and furious.
There was no middle ground.
There was no "let's be friends".
We were very much committed to each other from very early on in our relationship.

We grew to be friends much later.
By God's grace.

Sometimes I get a little envious of people who manage to be friends for a long time before they discover that they really love each other. I wonder what it feels like to slowly discover love and not be slammed into it and bowled over by it. Seems sweeter and softer. A different approach.

Why am I thinking about these things? I have a friend who is getting married in a few weeks. We are the same age and she has never been married. She is one of the most sincere, gentle women I have ever known. She's beautiful and graceful and has many friends. The man she is marrying is a true gentleman--I've known him for as long as they've been friends. They were friends for 3 years before they ever started dating. They dated for 2 years before getting enguaged. True friends. Who discovered love. Slowly. Peacefully. No trains in sight. It's been a sweet thing to watch them.

However love comes into your life--I'm convinced it's a treasure. A gift. You can unwrap it slowly and enjoy the process or rip into it with abandon, allowing the freight train to carry you away. Both are beautiful.

My Moma's Coming

My Moma is coming on Friday!

I am so excited...I haven't seen her since Christmas. Dad's coming too (not that I forgot that)...I haven't seen him since Thanksgiving. It's killing me not to tell the boys that Nana and PawPaw are coming to visit but Julian can not keep a secret for three seconds. It's just not in him to shut his mouth no matter how important you tell him it I have to wait.

When my mom comes, she cooks my favorite foods.
I have her recipes but it's not the same.
I can not execute Mom's signature dishes.
I rarely even try anymore.
I just wait and enjoy them blissfully when she's around.

Not that I put her to work when she's here. You have to for my mom is like breathing. She just does it.

So, tonight I purchased the ingredients for her cole slaw. My mom makes the most wonderful cole slaw...I'm somewhat of a cole slaw perfectionist. I love to try different styles and different mixtures but they are all measured against my Mom's Cole Slaw. And every one comes up lacking.

Nothing compares to Mom's cooking.
It's just food done right.


Saturday was Awesome!

Almost forgot to say...Saturday was amazing!

I'm still working as a local temp for CK, calling on all the local sb stores, reminding them about the convention in April. As if they could forget.

So, Saturday morning I had planned to head out early and make the southern loop. Unfortunately, here lately I've been having these odd "momentary personal vacations to the tropics" complete with waves of J was concerned about sending me out all day alone. My little episodes come and go quickly (thankfully) but he decided to pack up the boys and come along as the driver for my trek. Sweet man.

We had a really cool time. We drove down to Smyrna first where we stopped at Scrapbook Nook. This is a really small store with limited merchandise but very friendly. Owner Chasity is in college...can't imagine running a store and being in school, but she does it. She offers classes and crops and if it was closer, I would visit more often.

Next we went to The Sassy Scrapper 2 in Murfreesboro. All I can say is WOW! This was my first visit to their M'boro location and it was awesome. Tons of product and beautiful sample layouts. While I was there, they were having a photography event--they had a professional photographer taking sepia shots. The work displayed was really nice. I wish I had been prepared to take advantage of that. (The boys were not dressed appropriately for me.) Owner Mary is very nice and helpful. She told me about the bus tour that's coming up in a few weeks. Three stores have gotten together to do a bus tour for the cool is that? Definately want to go back there soon.

I bought some BoBunny paper there that I have been wanting to get more of. It's the Boys to Men and Backyard Bubbles that is so pretty. I didn't buy enough of it the first time around and have been craving more. Backyard Bubbles is really cool and versitile. I feel in love with it the first time I saw it used in a LO by Doris displayed at Scrap It! (The layout is the one on the left called Gratitude. The flowers are punched from the BoBunny paper. What a smart woman Miss Doris is!!) And this awesome LO by the awesome Dee Gallimore-Perry. I'm glad to have more of it now.

I also picked up some beautiful pink cardstock and a sweet baby girl-ish pattern for a baby girl card I have to make ASAP. I think I need more baby girls in my life. Pink is just so pretty!

Our third stop was Scrappin' USA Superstore, also in Murfreesboro. This store has been around for several years and has always been very nice. Their expanded location is super spacious and comfortable. Their crop space is remarkable--always has been. This is one of the only places I have seen with high-back rolling office chairs in their crop space. How posh is that?

While I was browsing, I overheard an interesting conversation between a customer and an employee. The customer said something like "I see all these sample pages you have hanging up. Do people really take the time to 'do up' all their photos like this?" It was all I could do not to snort! The employee handled it pretty well. I'm not sure the potential customer was convinced that yes, some folks 'do up' things for fun...I think perhaps she was going to be buying an album for storage. Scrap the best, store the rest!! Her voice just gave away so much dread. You could tell she must have tons of photos and was fast on her way to thinking of scrapbooking as a never-ending chore.

I was thrilled to find refills for my Mrs. Grossman's album (8x8) there. I picked up three packs--that the album I'm doing for the cruise.

Our final stop was Creation Station in Franklin. Creation Station is located inside The Factory at Franklin, a swanky little place that is, to me, the very essence of "shabby Chic". My friend Sabrina says "it's where ladies who lunch, lunch". :) She's right. It's a high class collection of wonderful ecclectic stores and eateries and such. I could wander there for hours...and someday we should all go there for a day out, I think.

Creation Station has a remarkable selection of character scrapbook stuff...Disney, UT, etc and a large selection of albums...some I have never seen. The owner of CS wasn't available and the young woman working there wasn't exactly thrilled to be there. I didn't hang there too long and (gasp) didn't buy anything.

But...on the way in to The Factory Shoppes two things caught my attention:

1--I entered the shoppes behind the very naturally beautiful Kimberly Williams, an actress who may be best known for her role in the movie "Father of the Bride", (although she's held plenty of other roles) also known as Mrs. Brad Paisley. Isn't that cool? She's positively adorable. One thing is for sure...the Williams-Paisley children (should they have some) won't be NBA stars. I didn't bother her, just noticed. (Franklin has a law about bothering celebrity types.)

2--The Smocking Loft. You know I am always drawn in to textiles...they have fabrics and ribbons...I was so there. Didn't even think. Just went on in. Smocking is a fading art but they had some beautiful pieces on display. Again, baby girl need here. Dresses, frills and smocking--just wouldn't look right on a grown woman. :) Anyway, you know I collected a little ribbon while I was there...a couple styles that I've been admiring at Strano, The Smocking Loft had in stock. I even bought some pink.

What fun visiting all these stores. I haven't done this much shopping in ages. Can I just say I loved having a cheauffuer too?!

This is getting long (sorry) just one last thing: I posted a query on 2Peas about Bazzill matches for the new Basic Grey Color Me Silly and a helpful pea sent me a link to this page at Embellish It! Online. How cool is this?

It was a great Saturday.



I stink at keeping secrets from my husband.

It's just so abnormal--we talk about most everything. Actually, we talk alot...more than most married people I think.

It's one of my favorite things about him. He enlightens me about sports trivia and he tells me in great detail about his work. We talk music, a little television, books and news. We talk about alot of things as a way of connecting. I tell him about scrapbooking, stores, styles, idea books, scrap-controversies, and 2Peas.

The thing is...sports trivia holds no interest for me. Zip. Zero. Nada. But you'd be surprised what I know about sports because it gives us something to talk about (beyond the kids) and it's important to him.

I'm fairly positive that my assessment of the merchandising in three different scrapbooking stores does not exactly glue him to the edge of his seat...but you'd be surprised at the things he notices when he ventures into a new store with me. It's obvious he listens because it's important to me.

I like that we talk a great deal.

But it does make keeping secrets difficult. Especially for me.

See, there's a secret I have to keep until the weekend. It's a wonderful thing that he's going to love. It's going to be an amazing surprise.

But it's killing me not be able to talk to him about it.

Deception is not one of my better traits. I'm thinking that's usually a good thing...just not this week.

Happy Monday.


There Oughta Be a Law...

The 2Peas Challenge today is to complete this sentence:

There ought to be a law...

--that prevents crazy outrageous pricing on bottled water. A 20-ounce bottle of water at the Preds game is $3. Come on. That's just outrageous. I don't mind crazy prices for other it a sin tax or whatever...but jacking the price of water really hacks me off. It's water for crying out loud.

--People who use cell phones should have to pass a class called "Polite Use of the Cell Phone".

--Basic Grey should be required stock in all LSS.

Um, some people in my life need to get blogging!

You know who you are. Your poor blogs are being neglected and it's not fair. Don't neglect your blogs. I need to hear from you.

Don't make me call names...

Happy Sunday.

PS I had a happy Saturday...bought some was grand!! More later.


It's 1:35 AM and I can't sleep.

I rarely go to bed before 2 AM but tonight (or rather this morning) I am partcularly hyped up for some reason and I can't sleep. No sense in laying in bed when I can come downstairs and mess around on the computer...uploading photos, answering emails, and of course, blogging a bit.

And (insert drum roll) I'm organizing my scrap space. (It is in a purpetual state of needing work.)

I'm not posting the "before" way. You'd all be very disappointed in me. However, tomorrow (or rather later today) when the sun is up, I will post the "after" photos.

Have some mercy on me and be suitably impressed. (Sometimes a girl needs a little validation ya know.)


I'm establishing a "FREE" box for items to be given away (ya'll should come over) and a "SALE" box for items to be sold. Both are sizable.

I'm thinking of re-painting my inset wall (coughcoughJoal'sgonnashootmecoughcough)--it should have been white, not blue. I think.

Have to mull on that idea.

Happy Thursday. Joal's staying home today...we're going to McAlister's for lunch!! Good day ahead!!


7 Things that Make Me feel Snappy

Life is found in the details.
I'm so not a detail person.
Well, on most things anyway.
But I want to here's my "Details of Life" post for the day.

7 Things That Make Me Feel Snappy

1--clean sheets and clean comforter on my sharply made bed
2--clean empty recycling bins in my closet
3--organized photos
4--all the library books in one place on the stairs
5--magazines organized in order in their boxes
6--all the plastics in my kitchen arranged neatly and all the lids accessable.
7--the cardstock arranged by color-logic

So what makes you feel like you've got it under control??

Happy Wednesday.


I Love them so much...why do they treat me so bad??

I am blessed to live in the land of abundant hobby and craft stores. Michaels, JoAnn's, and Hobby Lobby are all present in this area and I shop all three with some regularity, along with my favorite scrapbooking and stamping stores.

Of the three chains, Hobby Lobby is my favorite. Reasons? First of all, they carry my favorite adhesive (which is no small's getting a little hard to find). If you are dying to's the Photo Memory Mounting Taper by Pioneer. Second, HL generally has good weekly sales, especially on craft/art supplies. Julian goes thru paint and art paper and brushes like a little painted tornado. I need to be able to buy them on sale. The third reason I really like Hobby Lobby is that they consistantly carry my beloved 12x12 sub-divided page protectors for 4x6 photos at the most reasonable price--$1.99. I have not seen them anywhere else at all. Recently, they even started publishing coupons in the paper. Lastly, I also like HL because they are closed on Sunday.

Today I felt especially lucky because they were offering individual rools of American Crafts ribbon for half price. Three yards for $1.25! How cool is that? See. I was good. Only bought 4. Dozen. Ha!! No really. Just 4 rolls.

I drive about 40 minutes to get to the nearest Hobby Lobby, passing both the other chains on the way. I have always been happy with the service and selection there so I don't mind driving the extra-long distance.

Until today.

The price of my photo page protectors has gone up from $1.99 to $3.49.

Two different customers in front of me were having issues and Miss Cashier was not being helpful to either. She simply stated her position and did not indicate an ounce of understanding towards either of their dissatisfaction.

Then, she rang up my entire order. My coupon was laying on the counter in plain sight before she started ringing items but apparently she wasn't looking. When she noticed it (after finishing ringing the items) she said "What did you want to use this on?"

Umm, in the history of mankind and coupons, when has anyone not wanted to use the discount coupon on the most expensive item?

With this thought running thru my head...but not out my mouth, I tried to be polite when I said "One of the packs of protectors..."

She looked at me like I had two heads. "OK well I'll have to start over then..." she sighs with obvious exasperation.

I totally don't understand this. But I digress.

No way I was going to hold up the line and be the third customer in a row to have an issue...not over $1.40.

"Don't start over." I said. "I'll use it another time." and put my coupon back in my wallet.

She finished the transaction without incident or apology.

So, here's my question: Why on Earth doesn't a major corporation like Hobby Lobby have a computerized cash register system? What are they thinking? Bar codes...every major store on earth uses a bar-code system...why not Hobby Lobby?? They are decades behind in technology. Why is that?

I'm totally baffled.

Michaels has fine-tuned the coupon acceptance thing down to a science. The cashier scans the coupon at the end of the transaction and the computer automatically deducts the percentage off the highest priced non-sale item. No brain power required.

It also prints a detailed receipt that is easy to read. Hobby Lobby receipts are a mish mosh of jumbled numbers. What a mess!

It's time to take the leap, HL. Jump into the age of computer technology.

For the sake of customers everywhere.


I'm begging here.



G is THREE!!

We celebrated his birthday today with a trip to TCBY even tho technically speaking, he's been 3 since Wednesday. We couldn't celebrate without Daddy (and Daddy was not in town on Wednesday) so as far as G knows, today is his birthday.

Sneaky Momma.

We began discussing this birthday ice cream trip yesterday and when G heard about it, he got really excited, and then immediately really serious. In the serious tone, he informed me--"I don't want cwumbs in me ice cweam."

"Um. OK. No crumbs."

After some thinking about what he ment...cause I had no idea what he was referring to...I finally realized that his last bowl of yogurt had pecans. He doesn't like nuts and he ate around them, leaving them in his bowl.


Didn't you know?


Happy Birthday G-man!! We love ya, little guy.


The Scrapbooking Demographic?

A few years ago Creating Keepsakes Magazine commissioned a study to determine what the *average* scrapbooker looks like. What they found was not suprising. The *average* scrapper:

--is 30-50 years old
--is female
--is married
--is a parent
--has a college degree
--scrapbooks for a few hours per month
--owns about $700 worth of scrapbooking supplies

Frankly, I don't know what the value of being *average* is.

Walk into any large crop (large being 100 scrappers or more) and you'll notice a few other "scrapbooker commonalities" right off.

--Scrapbookers speak a different language.
--Scrapbookers tend to be "fluffy".
--Scrapbooker carry cell phones.
--Scrapbookers like to share information.
--Scrapbookers love to laugh out loud.
--Scrapbookers have tons of "stuff".
--Scrapbookers are nosy by nature.

It has been implied by a few on 2Peas that there's something wrong with scrapbooking because it's shared by people who have much in common. Scrapbooking has a wide appeal to a certain demographic. Is there something wrong with that?

There's a book coming out authored by a man that includes some not-so-ordinary scrapbooking topics by some not-so-ordinary scrapbookers. In other words, these scrappers don't fit the mold, they aren't the usual scrap-demographic. Allegedly, this issupposed to put the book on "the cutting edge" and make scrapbooking appeal to a wider audience. Unfortunately, the PR for the book has been handled in a such a way that it makes an "us or them" statement.

We are a cretive group. We value art and photos and stories. Why does it matter if a fellow scrapper looks like me? Does it matter if their family unit is different than mine? I don't think it does. It's a non-issue. I can be inspired by pages that I find appealing, regardless of whether or not the creator fits into the normal scrapbooker demographic. Many of the "names" in scrapbooking are part of the LDS church, but on the flip side, many are not. Why is that a problem? Honestly, I don't think it is.

I have long held that every person (scrap demographic or not) has a story that is worthy of being told. That thought hasn't changed. For me, this book will not be judged on the type of people who contributed to it, but by the work involved. If the styles used are appealing, the book may have a shot on my very short list. If not, it won't.

I don't take kindly to the blind accusation that if this book doesn't sell well, it must be because it's so "out of the ordinary" and because it doesn't embrace the scrapbooking usual--births and birthdays, kids and pets. Sorry. That's the nature of the book business. It's always a long-shot.

If you don't appeal to the mainstream, don't expect mainstream success. Sometimes the "cutting edge" can be a slippery, dangerous place. Approach with care.


Little Brother

I'm not sure what to say. My mom called to day to say that my littlest brother (he's 6'2" , 20 years old and a fireman) has enlisted in the US Army and will be reporting for Boot Camp on April 5. It's not a sudden thing--I've known it was probable since Thanksgiving--but now it's real.

And I feel like I've been punched in the gut.

My father served in the Air Force during Vietnam. I've always been a supporter of the troops. Always. I admire so much about America's military men and women. I have supported this current military action.

Or I thought I did.

But the potential price just went up.


2Peas Challenge--Snack Foods

My favorite snack foods:
1--apple slices
2--frozen yogurt with granola
4--bagel chips and tuna salad
5--peanut butter on crackers

That's What It's All About.

First, a little history…our church has a long-standing history of support for The Classical School of the Medes in northern Iraq.

Yes. That Iraq. (There’s only one.)

The school was started in 2001 by a Nashville-based non-profit called Servant Group International. The leader of SGI, Dave Dillard, is a member of our church. Dave has shared about CSM many times and I am always caught off-guard by his reports. Not because they are particularly startling by design but because anything not related to the war seems startling to me.

See, we hear about Iraq almost every day in the news, but in most cases what we are hearing is focused on the leaders, the factions, the politics, the adults, the death count, the ambushes, the hostilities. Honestly, as bad as it sounds, I have a hard time drawing a deep personal “connection” to the entire area. Perhaps it’s a lack of education or understand or just a basic desire to distance myself from war. Maybe it’s wrong. It’s not a lack of concern…more like I just don’t know where to start in understanding.

But it’s vastly different when Dave talks about SGI and The Classical School of the Medes. When he speaks, he’s talking about the children of Iraq. The children--something I can definitely relate to. We don’t hear much about the children of Iraq on television news. Dave brings photos of the children and I am always reminded how universal children are. No matter where in the world you go, when you shoot photos of children, you see the same characteristics: sweetness, fun, innocence, laughter, curiosity…beautiful Iraqi children.

So with this in mind, today I got an email from one of the Children’s Ministry leaders from church regarding the kids offering. It seems that there is a team of people from our church traveling to northern Iraq this coming summer to conduct a Family Bible Adventure (much like Vacation Bible School) for the children who attend The Classical School of the Medes, their families and friends. (Did I mention that 90 percent of the students at CSM are Muslim Kurds?)

From now until the team’s departure, the children of Christ Community will be contributing their Sunday offering towards the support of this team of travelers. They are also collecting supplies and books to be shipped to Iraq for the school.

I was completely bummed earlier today. I was wallowing in a selfish muck, emotionally. Things are a mess at home, I’m not feeling so hot and Julian’s in a total grouchy funk. I’m totally drawing a blank creatively. I’ve been working on cards and nothing seems right. I had plenty to complain about until this email arrived in my inbox. Then suddenly, I’m looking at the faces of children living in a war-torn unstable country and knowing I had no right to be feeling so bad.

I know what a wonderful time my kids have at FBA each summer. Kids being kids, I think that no matter where you are in the world, this fun summer camp-style event will be a welcomed event.

I hope so.
I pray so.

Sometimes God snatches me back from the brink of despair by reminding that my life is not about me. Ultimately, it’s not about paper and photos, as much as I like it to be. Life--real life is about His plan, His children and the world in which we live. It’s about children in Ethiopian orphanages and Iraqi schools knowing His love and grace...just like my own.

What have I done about that today??


Let the Scrapbooking Begin!!!

My cruise photos arrived from Winkflash today and all I can say is "Heather was right!" My friend Heather turned me on to and I am seriously impressed with this service. They have super fast turn-around time and very high quality, and of course, excellent pricing. I wanted to have them all printed in the 5x7 size. To do that at Wal-Greens costs $1.99 for each print. Winkflash offers 5x7's for 29 cents each. Happy as a clam, I am.

Happy Tuesday.


Could 2 People be any More Different?

Ever have one of those days (or nights) when you look at the person you are married to and think "what were we thinking?" and "could 2 people be any more different than we are?"

I love that man...I truly do...
sometimes I marvel that we have survived the past 15 years.

It truly is amazing. Miraculous.

Just today our multitude of differences bubbled forth...

He got up at 7 am to go get coffee...I slept until 9.
I can't live without my computer/internet...he can barely check his own email without assistance.
He's been reading the same big book since Christmas. I've read 4 books this week.
He always gets his books back to the library on time. I like to think that my sizable overdue book fines go to support the library.
He uses Sweet n Lo. I use Equal.
He's happy to go to bed at dark. I would love to go to bed at sunrise.
He hates anything tuna casserole or tettrizinni. I love creamy foods.
He has horrible handwriting. I don't.
He can remember peoples names for decades. I can not.
He plays 3 instruments. I play the radio.
He wanted us to get a massage on the beach in Mexico. I don't like strange people in my personal space.
His closet is a bastion of organization. Mine is volcanic.
He likes the sheets tucked under the end of the mattress. I do not.
He's right-handed. I am left-handed.

It never ends.
I guess Paula was right.
"Opposites Attract".


Books Book Books

So many great book-finds lately...I've been feeling so blessed to run across these gems.

My friend Sabrina turned me on to The Encyclopedia of Ordinary Life last night. I remembered reading something about it on Cathy Z's blog but it didn't stand out to me as something I needed to read until Sabrina explained it last night. I bought it today...and yes, it's very definately an excellent scrap-related book. I am taken with the concept. As I understand it, CZ is using it as the basis for a track at Creating Keepsake University as explained here. The book is one of those that at first glance you think will be a fun, easy read. You think you'll be pleasantly amused and then wham! It gets really deep and surprisingly honest and bare.

I have begun a list of possible entries for encyclopedically defining my life and I can't wait to see the results of some of the CKU's.

The other book I am currently reading for fun is "Circle of Grace" by Penelope J. Stokes. It's fiction and I am not very deep in but I was surprised to find it is the story of a circle journal. Four friends spend their four college years together and upon graduation declare that they will always be friends and always be honest with each other, keeping up via this circle journal. It's very rich and speaks to the rotations of life. I can't wait to read more.

In other news, a new McAlister's Deli has opened in Brentwood and we decided to go try it out today. McAlisters is a chain that was started in Mississippi and it's one of my favorite casual dining places. Their big ol' cups of iced tea are positively life-giving. Guess what? It was our lucky day. Turns out the official opening of this new location doesn't happen until Monday...but today was "Friends and Family Day"...meaning they were triaining all their new staff and everyone who stopped by today ate FREE! We ate lunch and did some shopping in Cool Springs. I tried to talk Joal into going back for dinner! Or at least another glass of! Seriously, my love for this state was already it's even more complete. McAlister's is grand!!

So, tell me what you are reading??

What to say...

I love scrapbooking and I am particularly fond of the explosion of growth the industry has seen in the past decade. I love the countless stories of scrapbook-lovin' women who have made their way sucessfully in this business. I admire the guts it takes.

That said...someone should really define the term "over-exposure" to the Primedia folks. This (in my not so humble opinion) is taking things a bit far. What else will they think to smack Lisa Bearnson's photo onto next? Teeth whitener? Hairbrushes? And if Lisa jumps off a cliff, I guess we're all supposed to follow too, huh.

I wouldn't enjoy my Basic Grey purchases nearly so much if I was going into debt for them. Sorry. That would just steal some of the joy. Most. OK, most all.

And how many threads at 2Peas have been filed under the topic of "How do you hide your scrap and stamp purchases from your husband?" Doesn't a credit card with an itemized statement kindof make hiding purchases a little difficult?

I suppose I'll bebanned from scrapbooking circles soon. I've now committed both the "unpardonable sins"--I've let my subscription to CK lapse and I refuse to carry a Basic Grey credit card. Yep. Banned for sure...but I'm ok with that.



2Peas Challenge--10 Things

Today's 2Peas Challenge is to list 10 Things Guaranteed to Put Me in a Good Mood! Here's my little list of 12 because I can never stop at ten of anything:

1-Ice cold Dr Pepper in the morning first thing--love the burn. (Most of the time I settle for Diet Dr Pepper tho.)

2-Watching my boys swing in the backyard...we waited so long for a back still makes me cry happy tears to see them swinging. (I'm a total sap, I know.)

3-A letter from my mom or my sister.

4-Good shoes...must be cute and comfortable.

5-Music I can groove to--generally something that rocks.

6-Joal having an excellent day at work.

7-Scrap night!! My friends come over and we party until dawn...err...well, at least midnight.

8-Pretty things--ribbon, a great photo, patterned paper (I'm about to dive into some Basic Grey that is making me really happy), Bazzill, fabric, furniture.

9-Freshly vacuumed carpet. I love it when it's clean. Probably because it only stays that way for about 3.2 seconds in my house.

10-Sonic Ice.

11-Children being adopted. (more on that later)

12-Julian, my 10 year old son, reading.

You don't have to be a pea to make a list of your own. Let's see your list.

Good News

The visit to the new pediatrician went extreamly well and I am very pleased. It occured to me while talking to the nurse that G has never had a sick-baby visit to the doctor. He had all his well-baby visits (the last one was just before his second birthday) but he's never been sick. What a blessing that is!

But, alas, the streak is broken. Today he has 2 infected ears. Joy.

He's napping now and I'm actually working on some scrapbooking before I have to clean up. Joal will fly in around 9. I've missed him severely this time but I am glad it worked out that he was gone while the boy was ill. The nights have been rough--G's been up and down many times each night--and since Joal wasn't here it was easier to not have to worry about bothering him too much. He's a very shallow sleeper and usually wakes up before I do when one of the boys stirs. I can go slow or even catch a nap in the afternoons if I have to be up during the night...but he doesn't have that option.

In other news, the bracelets for the Tennscrapbooking group just arrived. I have to get those out. They are pretty cool. (I have extra if you still want one.)

Happy Wednesday!!


Getting a New Pediatrician

We are going to see a new pediatrician today. The old one--the one we've been seeing since we moved here 7 years ago--has outgrown us. The last time we visited the office, I paid $110 for a 14 minute visit...after waiting for 30 minutes in the waiting room.

With a sick 2 year old.

At check out, "the new office manager" didn't know how to handle a non-insured/self-pay account. She made a huge deal about how different this is and acted as if we were an inconvenience to her. As I recall, I had had about all I could take of sick and grumpy children and I refused to apologize for her inconvenience. Sorry. Last time I checked I was paying the bill here...if it's inconvenient for you to take my money...apparently you don't need us a client.

That last incident set us on the path to finding a new pediatrician. It's one of several complaints I have about this office...but I stuck with it because it's less than a mile from our house and has very extended hours. But no more.

So, we are going to our new pediatrician today because G has what I believe to be "the croup". Such a lovely messy problem. Who knew there were so many shades of green??

Our non-insured/self-pay status is a long story involving a well-known medical insurance company tht dropped it's coverage of all it's subscribers in Tennessee without proper notification, effectively leaving us without medical insurance and for Julian and me...eliminating the possibilty of getting new insurance due to current health conditions. It was hugely wrong and illegal and we filed a complaint with the TN Insurance Commission but nothing came of it.

So we have chosen to pay cash for our medical events. It's a blessing that we are all fairly healthy and can afford this option. The boys haven't been to the doctor for a sick-visit for the last nine months. Joal gets a cold about 2x a year and we have an excellent GP whom he sees. I see him once a quarter for Diabetes testing and his PA for other things. We really like him and his staff. He is a Christian man and one of the most personable and caring people I've ever met. His staff is friendly and comforting. The GP actually gives us a cash discount, which we really appreciate. He has taken the time to understand our position--he knows that we don't want to pay for services we don't really need...but it's not a problem to pay for what we do need. He actually took the time to check out the medical co-op we are part of via the web and ask questions about it. I'll be glad when the boys are old enough to see this GP instead of a pediatrician.

Given our experiences, I am not a fan of the insurance world.

So today we are visiting our new pediatrician for the first time. I'm a little nervous...first day of school jitters and all. LOL! It's a 40 minute drive to Franklin but we'll adjust. I think it will be worth it. It's a not-for-profit children's clinic and one of the office executives is Julian's Sunday school teacher.

If you think of it, say a prayer for us...especially the slightly stressed mommy who got 1.5 hours of sleep last night and the daddy in NC.

Happy Tuesday.


I Have a New Theory

I have a new theory. Give a boy of any age a ball and he will find a way to have fun.

And the bigger they are, the more fun they will have!!

Yes, it was a beautiful day!!

Scrap Space

Did you see this beautiful space on 2Peas? I really like the lined baskets (and tagged) in all the different formulations of black and white. Very snappy!

I don't suppose it would be too difficult to create basket liners...ideas?


This I Believe

You must go hear this installment of the "This I Believe" series on NPR.

Paper Love

Love is a stack of SEI. I can't wait to get up to Scrap It! to snag some Winnies Walls and Paisley and these retro papers! Have no idea how to use them yet...but it will come.

I so wish SEI made wrapping paper.

Found some Chatterbox papers at Memories in Bloom that is just too pretty. (below)

At Scrapbooks& More in Knoxville I found these beachy papers by Sandy Lion and K&Co... (below)

Papers just get better and better!!!


Scrapbooking on the High Seas

Scrapbooking really is everywhere...including Royal Carribean's cruise ship fleet. On deck 5 of our ship was a promenade of small shops--a perfumery, a liquor store, a fine jewelry store, a casual jewelry store, and a gift shop for acquiring t-shirts, postcards and other RC items. On the 6th deck was the photo gallery, where they sold camera supplies (and cameras) and displayed the shipboard photos that were available for purchase. I was impressed with the quality of the photos taken by the many ship photographers and we bought several, (like this one of us as we were waiting on the pier in Cozumel) even tho the prices were a little more than normal. The photo gallery also offered memory card to disk services and photo printing services.

The very first day, as soon as we cleared US waters, I made a beeline to the shops on deck 5 to check them out. (The shops are only open when the boat is in international waters.) Of course, my first thought was how wonderful it would be to have a scrapbook store on board--but no such luck.

Fast forward to the fourth day (our final full day). I took the days schedule with me to breakfast and was thrilled to see that RC was offering 2 classes on scrapbooking that day. I attended the morning class and found it a bit dull, but plenty suitable for beginners. The woman conducting the class was Angela. She showed an 8.5x11 album of perhaps 12 cruise ship page possibilities and each person attending recieved about 6 ocean-related diecuts and two pieces of cardstock. She had a few small thumb punches, the largest collection of deco scissors I think I have ever seen, some templates, tons of pens (non-archival) and glue sticks. Her handouts for the class included two pages of tips and ideas.

I heard several participants indicate that they use the larger CM albums so they didn't complete the pages as shown but for the most part, the other attendees received the project ideas enthusiastically. The class lasted about 15 minutes and then participants were free to work on the project for 30 minutes. It was very interesting to sit back and watch the others. I really had to hold back...everythng in me wanted to turn loose and really share about scrapbooking. The scrapbooking that goes beyond just having a place to store your photos...the projects shown covered only the very basic 5W journaling. There's so much more. You probably know how deep this runs in me. It was almost stressful to sit back and not intrude with my over-zealous desire to share what I love so much.

After the class I spoke with the teacher and found out that she is an "avid scrapper" and she teaches exclusively for Royal Carribean. She taught on a different ship the day before, got off it in Cancun, drive down to Cozumel and got on our ship to teach. She would be "catching a ride" with us to Galveston and would disembark our ship in the morning and board another ship at Port Galveston in the afternoon. What a whirlwind!! What a cool way to made me want to give some of those scrapbooking cruises a second look.

On the flight home the next day I was talking to Joal about all this and he suggested combining my two loves--the beach and scrapbooking--and call it "Beachbooking". Wouldn't that just be blissful? I have heard there are some stores on the eastern seaboard that offer beach retreats...maybe that would be a little more doable.

I thought it was really cool that RC offered scrapbooking classes. If ever there was a perfect time to explore a new hobby, it's on a cruise vacation. Afterall, you can only go so far with towel-folding and your body can only stand a finite number of massages. Why not scrapbook?

I took 80 keepable photos and we purchased a dozen or so shipboard photos. I have requested a compilation disk of all the photos taken by the man in our group who was the acting company photographer. Before it's all said and done, I'll proabably have a book of 30 to 40 pages. I am thinking of assembling them all in an 8x8 album. I'm having them printed in 5x7 and will be doing the journaling by computer.

Each member and spouse of our group was given a 12x12 RC leatherette folio containing 2 8x10 photos--one of our group on formal night and one of the ship. It's a very nice photographer's presentation folio so I'll probably leave those 2 photos in it and display it on the mantle for a while.

I captured all sorts of memorabilia--our shipboard passes, copies of our passports, daily schedules, menus, sand and shells from the beach, napkins, wristbands, etc. Lots of stuff to work into our book...I can't wait to scrap it all.

I feel pretty confident that we'll be going again next year and I have volunteered to produce several items for the group that would have made things easier on us. I'm thinking about the possibility of assembling a readymade scrapbook (or a kit) for the other couples in our group or perhaps teaching a class of my own for our group.

Ideas...ideas abound when I am feeling "up".



We love you and hope you have a wonderful day!!