Yippy Skippy.

News in Brief...

  • Kroger has 8x10 enlargements for 99 cents this week.

  • is having a summer layout contest. Check it out.

  • New blog I'm enjoying:

  • Deb and I went to the flea market at the TN State Fairgrounds last Saturday. We spent about 4 hours and still didn't see it all. Although it was crowded, it was a feast for the senses. My finds of the day were a box of hand-written sermon notes from a methodist minister from the 40s and a seatbelt purse.

  • I also fell for this antique metal sign but couldn't spare the $350 to bring it home. (ha) Deb was fascinated by the vintage clothing. Lots of great stuff including a perfectly demure pink tea dress from JCPenney circa 1940 that was lovely.

  • Thank you to everyone who sent carrot-olicious info after my epic saga re: my disdain for carrots. :) You guys are the best! A few recipes and ideas jumped out at me, so there is hope.

  • And thank you for sticking with me thru the measly blogging that's been happening the past few weeks. Hopefully, things will be back to normal soon as I get used to having Joal home again.

  • An Andy Update: My brother made it safely to Afghanistan. He has sporadic contact but we are grateful for whatever we get. He seems in good spirits and is putting his medic training to good use on behalf of his unit. Word has it that they even let him kick down a door. We are keeping him in care packages filled with Skittles and *OFF* bug repellant. What a combo, huh.

Happy Thursday. :)



This pure eye candy. I'm so attracted by great photography, vibrant color and fluffy information and I enjoy this magazine immensely.

Imagine my surprise when I found the above Epson ad designed by Heidi Swapp!

And isn't this just the sweetest picture? I think I need to make a sign like that. :)

There was a thread at 2Peas that got me thinking about professional portraits. Do you buy professional portraits on a regular basis? Do you go to a private photographer or a chain studio? How often?

I was just wondering. Being nosy, I suppose. We haven't done portraits in years...except for the church directory thing done by Olan Mills that didn't impress me. I have so many pictures, I don't see the need anymore and the price wears me out. I think it bugs part of my extended family that I send out "mere snapshots" several times a year but for the most part, I just ignore it. My "mere snapshots" are lightyears better than any posed "everybody say cheese and look cheesy" overpriced portrait...they are real. I like that.

That said, during my last trip to Texas, my mother requested that the four of us (all her children) go to the studio in WalMart and get our pictures made as a group. Professionally. (If you call WalMart Studios, professional.) It happens so rarely that the four of us are in the same state, much less the same WalMart...she asked and we obliged. I think the last time we had a professional photo of the four of us, Deb was about 3, and with Andy now in the desert on the other side of the galaxy, who knows when it will happen again.

They turned out good but the level of customer service has been pathetic. If my mom hadn't really been on top of it and been willing to be a little pushy, I have a feeling they photos would not have made it to her. I'm so glad they did tho...mine are supposed to arrive in the mail this week. I'll post them when they do. :)

Happy Thursday!



Have you ever stopped to think about the good that comes from adversity? Do you know someone who took the lemons and stomped them to bits? I know a few and I wish I knew more. I wish I was that way more.

People who have faced great adversity and have stood their ground amaze and inspire me. What you do when you are down says so much about a person's character, I think. Who do you know (or know of) who has faced a great adversity and not just survived but survived to turn it into something remarkable?

The story of this little boy and his moma is beautiful and frought with adversity. It's also full of God. It's not my story to tell, but I am grateful that my friend is letting me play with it a bit in pictures. (Shared with permission.) Even when it seemed there would be no end to the adversity in the process of adoption, no one gave up, no one took no for an answer. And look who their family has to show for it!
{The layout is my response to Amber Ulmer's challenge blog--One Little Word. The word for the last week of May was *STOP* and this photo was still laying in my stack awaiting the right inspiration. The two just seemed right together.}
May the adversity you face come to be the seeds of tomorrow's greatness.
Happy Wednesday.



It's raining outside but I couldn't be happier! My favorite LSS (Scrapn' Memories) is getting Scenic Route--starting with Metropolis and ordering more at CHA in late July!! Wooo Hoo!

And then as if things could get better...the UPS man deposited a hefty goody box of paper on my doorstep from Layle, the queen of all things Scenic Route! Inside was a beautiful selection of new stuff and some wonderful old stuff that I have loved for years. "Thank you" doesn't begin to do my gratitude justice. It's raining Scenic Route!

In other news, the writing prompt for today at 2Peas is:

If you could cure any disease, what would it be?

I don't even have to think about this one. In a heartbeat I would erradicate that ugly monster called Pervassive Development Disorder and all it's tenticled arms, especially the ones related to pre-mature birth-- Cerebral Palsy and Attention Deficit. POOF. Be gone. Is that too self-serving?

I wish.


The 10 Hour Carrots...and other things.

So, I've been having some trouble with my eyes, which is pretty run-of-the-mill for a person with Type 2 Diabetes and the daughter of two life-long near-sighted adults. Not good news for anyone, but especially not good for a photo-lovin' scrapbooker girl like myself. Not good at all.

So after consulting with my doctor, I'm taking a new horse-sized vision-protective vitamin and he said "Eat Carrots. You'll thank me when you are 60."

Newsflash...I have to this point in my 35 years on this planet hated carrots for um, yeah, all 35 years. (Hence, the eye issue.) I don't like anything orange. I don't like raw things. And I just don't like carrots. Or carrot juice. And I'm not a picky eater. It's just a carrot thing. I love to peel them...think they are beautiful when sliced on the bias...just hate to eat them.

But more than anything, I want good eyesight for all my days. So I swallow the horse-pill and am on a quest to conquer the disdain of the carrot. (Ideas welcome.)

So last week I bought a tiny little bag of tiny little mini carrots. Tried. No go. Feels like I'm eating rocks. Can't do raw. As an aside, do they actually come out of the ground that size? Or are they chopped down from life-sized carrots? I'm thinking of a wood lathe...insert the carrot, apply the blade, spin, watch as the big daddy carrot becomes a cute little mini carrot, stop the lathe, pop out the baby. So what happened to the rest of the carrot goodness that the carrot-lathe shaved off? Is it in a heap on the floor? How wasteful is that? Especially in the name of cuteness for carrots. I digress.

Also last week, I made one of my family's favorite meals--Roast and veggies in the slow cooker. I always put carrots in with the roast (for the last two hours) and everybody but me eats them. Even G, who tends to not like more things than he likes.

So with great hesitation, I tried the slow-cooked roast carrots. And to my great surprise, they were manageable. OK. I'm betting, given the presence of onion soup mix and broth, there's more sodium in this meal than is really supposed to be a good thing...and the carrots are well-done. No mush. Still very recognizable. (I use pretty large chucks, for easy avoidance.)

I ate a few and fished out a few more from the crock pot. I can manage cooked carrots, I told myself with an unhealthy dose of self-accomplishment. We have hope. They were actually pretty tasty.

But only carrots cooked in the slow cooker. Hmm. I make pot roast and veggies about 2-3 times a month. And I have to share the carrots...I can't keep them all to myself. Contemplation. We are either going to have to eat more pot roast (which isn't cheap) or I have to find a better solution.

So yesterday, we finished off the last of the pot roast and it occurred to me that there was plenty of juice (broth, juice, gravy, liquid, whatever) leftover...perhaps I could cook new carrots in that. (Can you hear the angels singing?) So today, my weekly shopping trip included full-sized really pretty (well, as carrots go) orange carrots. This afternoon I fished all the juice left from the pot roast out and heated it. Washed, peeled, fancy sliced about 12 large carrots and plopped them--along with some new celery and onion and a little extra broth into a pot and set them to simmer on the stove.

Can you say brilliant? I had carrots with dinner tonight and it was positively delightful. I didn't cook them very long--only about an hour and a half on very low heat. Still very much carrot-y...but not so much.

So, if you count the time it takes to cook the pot roast and then add the carrots into the remaining juices, it takes me about ten hours to cook these carrots, but at least they are good, right? :)

Incidentally, I am aware of the raw-foods movement and am somewhat informed about the nutrients that are lost during cooking. I get that a cooked carrot isn't as nutritionally helpful as a raw one to my sight. Hence, the horse-pill. If you read this blog much, you know I'm on the journey to better health, after living with bad food habits for most of my adult life. Please don't flog me. We are taking baby steps.

Do you have a favorite carrot recipe...besides carrot cake? Feel free to send it my way.

Sorry. I'm rattling. Actually, I think I started rattling about 6 paragraphs ago...thanks for sticking that out. :)

In other, non-carrot-ish news, I did a little garage sale shopping yesterday and today. Both days were very productive. Yesterday we went over to the downtown Ladies of Charity Stuff Galore that was cool. Garage sale shopping in an air-conditioned environ. Who could ask for more than that? :) Today's find of the day was a mason's trowel for a dollar. Julian was thrilled. No weird people. No solicitations. It was a good day.

My sister is selling Avon now and enjoying it. I was impressed with her initiative at starting this when she moved here. She, too, shares my genetic predisposition toward entrepreneurialism. If you are local, shoot me an email if you would like an Avon catalog. Cool stuff...comes right to your door.

Speaking of my sister, Deb and I ventured out to a large consignment store in Dickson earlier in the week and found it to be a terrific place. Very clean, very well organized and very friendly. Oh and great prices too. :) We'll definitely be going back there and I can't wait to clean out my hall closet and take some items that no longer fit there to be consigned.

Garage sales, consignment shopping...I'm sounding really cheap these days, aren't I? Oh well. I'm not actually cheap...I have lots to do with my dollars and this helps them go farther and work harder. And I enjoy it.

Happy Father's Day.
May your eyes be strong and may your carrots be tasty.
Happy Sunday!


Card Class

Seen here are 2 cards that were part of the card class I took last night at Scrapn Memories. More than I needed a how-to in card-making, I needed a night out to do something fun. Mission accomplished. :)
Happy Weekend.


Never underestimate the value of a little dirt.

One of the peas posted this photo along with this note:

Here is a soldier stationed in Iraq, living in a big sand box. He asked his wife to send him some dirt (U.S. soil), fertilizer, and some grass seed so he could have the sweet aroma and feel of grass growing beneath his feet. Not only that...when the men of his squadron leave on a mission, they take turns walking through his grass and on the American soil - to bring them good luck.



600 and Elton John lyrics

So, with this post, I have now written 600 blog entries. Not too shabby, aye? :)

I was shopping for socks last night when I heard this Elton John song, "Blessed" on the radio and thought it would make a wonderful addition to some baby pictures. Check it out:

Hey you, you're a child in my head
You haven't walked yet
Your first words have yet to be said
But I swear you'll be blessed

I know you're still just a dream
your eyes might be green
Or the bluest that I've ever seen
Anyway you'll be blessed

And you, you'll be blessed
You'll have the best
I promise you that
I'll pick a star from the sky
Pull your name from a hat
I promise you that, promise you that, promise you that
You'll be blessed

I need you before I'm too old
To have and to hold
To walk with you and watch you grow
And know that you're blessed

Dear LSS. Don't Lie to Me.

Dear Scrapbook Store.
Don't lie to me.
Don't say you are ordering the new product, when what I asked if you had was not a new product.
Don't look at me like I am an un-informed customer who can't possibly know more than you about a scrapbook thing.
Don't lie to me.

In fact, I am an informed customer. I'm probably more well-informed than most of your customers. I ask for a specific brand and line of product because I want to buy it locally (or semi-locally, in this case). I've seen it online and if you force me too, I will buy it online, although I would like to buy it locally, even with a 9.25% sales tax and the soaring price of gasoline. I know what the name of the line is and I can describe it to you in detail, if you ask.

I can even tell you that no other stores in the area are carrying it. There's a hole in the market that you could fill.

Here's a quick lesson:
When a customer asks "Do you carry ___ company's ____ line?" don't immediately look like you are doubting the existence of said line. If you don't think you have it, say these words: "I don't think we have it. But we do have some product from that company. What does the ____ line look like?"

If customer says "It has blue and orange stars on a white field." it's a safe assumption that she knows what she's talking about. At least give her the benefit of the doubt.

Do not lie to the customer. Do not say "It must be new and we haven't gotten it yet" unless you know for a fact that it is a new release. If in fact, it's not new, you will look like an idiot.

Do not say "it's been backordered forever". This is not the customer's problem and it looks like you are passing the buck. See rule #1--do not lie to the customer.

Do not say "I don't think they make that." You just look stupid.

Bottom line: Do not lie to your customers. Be honest with your customer. We know that you can't possibly know every style, size and brand of paper out there. If you don't have it or haven't heard it, it's OK. Just say "I haven't heard of that but I can check into it."

Say it with me: "I don't know, but I can check into it."

It's easy. It's not a lie. And it makes clients feel like you care. Your customer's can be an invaluable resource, if only you listen and do not lie to them.

For what it's worth, I am so frustrated right now, I don't know what to do. I shop regularly at a nice little LSS in Nashville. I shop sporadically to not-very-often at the LSS in the surrounding areas due to the time it takes to travel to them, the price of gas, and the convenience of shopping online. When Scrap It closed, I kinda lost heart in finding another scrapbook store with inspirational walls--that place was one-of-a-kind. The loss of Scrap It created an inspiration vacuum here. None of the other stores--far or near--can even begin to offer the kind of unique art that the girls who displayed their art at Scrap It shared. It never failed that I would leave that store with a tear in my eye and a crick in my neck from looking up at the pages and art being displayed. It was obvious they weren't generating pages solely to sell product...even tho I'm sure that was a goal.

None of the other stores have stepped up to fill the gap and that is disappointing to me. And, for what it's worth, none of the other stores are carrying a decent quantity of Scenic Route either, which makes me want to say bad words.

More later.


Goodbye old friend, Sweet Festivale

Weird as it sounds, I get attached to certain papers and I hate it when a company announces that they are retiring a line that I have especially loved. I take it quite personally--crazy, as that sounds, I know. (Because it is all about me, right.) Hee.

I remember where I was the first time I was captured by Scenic Route's Festivale line--a tiny little scrapbook store in Florence, Mississippi. It was pure magic. Now Festivale is being retired and I am having to restrain myself to prevent major stocking up and hoarding. It's a fantastic line and I've used it dozens of's what I consider a scrap-classic. I will miss it.

According to Layle's newsletter, Festivale was SR's very first line and the only reason they are retiring it is to have more room for the 2 new lines they will be debuting at the upcoming trade show. While I can't wait to see what's new, I will still miss Festivale.

So, have you used Festivale? If so, let me know--I'd love to see it in all it's glory.

Happy Wednesday!


Garage Sale Find of the Year!!

It was a gem of a garage sale day! The find of the day...maybe the decade was a huge bin of Legos for $9.25. Well actually it was $10 but as the boys and I were washing thru them in the sink we discovered 75 cents in change also in the bin. LOL! Have you ever seen a sink f-i-l-l-e-d with soapy water and thousands of Legos? It's quite a sight! And I've never had such willing participants in the washing of anything before! If you've ever bought Legos at all, you know that this was a totally outrageous deal! It came with the bin and lid and about 25 instruction picture inserts. I am totally Mom of the decade today!

There was another box of approximately 2x this many for $30...I was tempted, but I didn't want to blow most of my garage sale cash in one spot. I'm totally happy with this find! My boys spend a great amount of time and brain power using Legos to make all kinds of things. I love that they are interested in building and creating in this way and I think or rather, I know it's especially good for Julian. Joal and I even enjoy a little construction time of our own once in a while too. :) The only time I dislike them is when I step on a stray. Bad. Very bad.

Other cool finds...a 50 cent wooden paper towel holder...a few coloring books, a silk Ficus tree. Nothing as impressive as the Legos. That one will be hard to top!

Couple of funny garage sale stories: At one stop on a cul-de-sac there were quite a few too many cars parked around the garage sale house. We pulled to the side and parked, out of the way, but not in anyone's grass or blocking any driveways. When we returned to the car after shopping, there was an old lady (old) in a blue housecoat standing on her front steps with a dustmop in her hand and she did *not* look very happy.

Deb and I were approaching our car and she shouted "Do you know who's car that is blocking my driveway?" "No, sorry" we said. Sure enough, there was a small car parked behind us, and it was protruding across the access to her driveway by about 2 feet. I'm not sure that could be defined as "blocking" but apparently she thought so. She stood there for a bit and we got on in our car, but we could hear and see her grumbling loudly. Before we pulled away a yound woman carrying a very tiny baby was walking to the offending car. We didn't hear what the old lady said (we were trying to get away in fear of the dustmop-toting granny) but it was obvious she was giving the young woman what for. The funny part is I would bet dollars to donuts that the old lady wasn't even going anywhere...she just didn't want her driveway blocked. At all. Bless her heart.

At another stop, we were walking down the short driveway to where the items were spread out when an older, pot-bellied poorly-kempt man wearing only shorts and houseshoes came out the front door. He seemd a, maybe sloshed and disoriented and he said "I have 3 nice antique beds for sale in the house, if you wanna come in and see them." Dude. Not on my life! I told Deb a minute later..."I had to resist the urge to turn and run back down the driveway." She said "me too." Creepy. We got out of there really fast.

And finally, our first stop of the day was in Bellemeade, (an upscale, old-money part of Nashville...where Al and Tipper have a house). The house was wildly huge--at least three stories, maybe 4 and the sale was in the basement/garage area that opened onto a beautiful patio/driveway. The owner was a very chatty lady! She was telling people about stuff and encouraging everyone to make sure they knew that the sale was in all rooms of the basement. All 4,000 square feet of the basement.

Let me tell you, that was some basement. One room of it was filled with maybe a few hundred file-size boxes of tv shows that had been recorded on VHS tapes. Thousands of tapes...of tv shows...stuff like McGuyver, Rush Limbaugh, McCloud, Deep Space Nine, looked like someone had a full-time job of recording tv shows. This house was also selling their indoor play most people have a jungle gym outside for small children to climb, swing, slide on...these guys had an indoor one for sale. I didn't know such a thing existed. It was a serious jungle gym too.

It bugged my sister (who has all the makings of being a decorator) that the "4000 square foot" basement--was completely unfinished. The walls were roughed in but that was about it. I couldn't live in a house and not finish out the basement. Too much fun to be had...especially in one that size. Wild. Can you imagine the kind of scrapping that lady could do in her 4000 square foot basement??! Crops!

Oh and it was definately the day for old-style Kirby vacuums. I think we saw at least one at each of the first 6 stops. :)

No unmentionables today...thankfully. Although one lady who claimed to be having a garage sale in order to pay her bills while she's writing her visionary book, tried to tell us that some small decorative tins were "antique" and a good bargain at $2 each. They looked very much like some I've seen at the dollar store. Most defiantely not "antique".

So, now you know about our Saturday garage sale adventures. Most people understand that garage sales are about deals and...most people are very friendly and honest. Thankfully we don't run into many creeps like the dude with the beds.

And it is so much easier with Karen, the GPS!

Happy Saturday!


Beautiful but not funny.

What makes you laugh? Do you laugh enough?

A few weeks ago, Joal and I attended a over-night retreat with some friends and one of the get-to-know-each-other assignments was to recount the funniest things that's happened to you. Joal and I were hard-pressed to come up with anything really deeply funny to share and to be honest, it's been bugging me ever since. Are we not funny? Do we not have funny things happen to us? Is that not (gasp) normal? To make matters worse, we were the longest-married couple there (which is not unusual in our group of friends).

So I've been on a quest to find or remember funny things and do you know what I've discovered? My life is not funny.

The things I deal with as a parent (behavior, medication, dirt, seizures, doctors), as a home keeper (laundry, decor, cleaning), as one who is guiding my child's education (curriculum, reporting, constantly refocusing and re-directing, assignments, keeping it interesting, field trips, experiments), as a Christian (Sunday School teacher, supporter of missions to Sudan and Zambia, member of a large church), as an American (war, Army, elections, taxation), as a sister (the older sister), as a friend, a neighbor and as a and large, they just aren't funny.

Joal and I make each other laugh--until our sides ache or until one of us has to pee (you can guess who usually has to pee first, but it's not the one of us who has given birth twice) about stupid stuff but it's not stuff that anyone else would find uproariously funny.

Not to play self-evaluating pshcologist here, but I think part of it is that we are both extremely responsible oldest children. And life has thrown us some pretty serious curve balls--a child born early and with continuing physical and mental challenges, some pretty serious debt (which we worked out of, by the grace of God), some challenging career choices beginning with being an independent contractor and traveling extensively and ending with my not being employed, a life-altering move from Mississippi to Nashville, and some serious medical challenges for both of us.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. I know we have an amazing grace-filled life even with all the challenges. What's that Daryl Worly lyric..."I love this crazy, tragic, sometimes almost magic, awful beautiful life"? It's just all these things aren't necessarily known as "funny-material generators". Life is very serious to me and while I do laugh, it's not because things in my life are funny and I'm not even sure there's anything I can do about that.

That said, I do love a good redneck joke every now and then, probably because I grew up in Mississippi and they usually hit a little too close to home. :)

So, may your laughter be genuine and
may your life be filled with good stuff, not just funny stuff.