Thursday, June 30, 2011

odds & ends…

Cosmo Cricket recently released a new line called Odds & Ends – it’s so versatile and could be used for any type of project – scrapbook pages, cards, and even altered art projects.  I sat down today with my boys to watch a movie and took the Odds & Ends collage kit up with me – just to see if I could maybe do a little bit of creating while we watched the movie together.  We ended up putting in a second movie – but only watched half of it before the rainclouds disappeared and the boys were ready to go outside for a while.  Here’s what I ended up with by the time the movies were over:

happy_birthday_cardhappy_birthday_card_detailhello_my_friend_cardhello_my_friend_card_detailthank_you_so_much_cardthank_you_so_much_card_detail

supplies2

Odds & Ends 12x12 Collage Kit

Odds & Ends 6x6 Mini Kit

Odds & Ends Cardstock Stickers

Odds & Ends Junk Drawer Paper

Odds & Ends Scraps Paper

the climb…

This layout is on the Pebbles, Inc. blog today, but I wanted to share it here as well.  This is the first layout I worked on after I felt the desire to be creative again.  It was a great way to ease back into this part of my life…I  had some brand new, really fun product to work with AND a great sketch that was assigned to me.

the_climb_layouts

The photos were taken in March this year.  We had taken the kids swimming at the rec center in Kamas and they wanted to try the climbing wall after we were done.  It was getting dark outside, and there isn’t much light back in the area where the climbing wall is, so the photos didn’t turn out great, but I was glad to have one kind of decent photo of each of them.

the_climb_detail1

I love this new Floral Lane line by Pebbles, Inc.  The colors are gorgeous, the designs are fabulous, and can you see the texture on the patterned papers?  awesome!!  This line also includes those cute little candy dot buttons – they are on the small side – perfect for adding to flowers – and the adhesive is already on the back.

the_climb_journaling

And I know some of you are probably thinking I’m a total cornball for adding Miley Cirus Song lyrics to my layout…but try to block the tune and images out of your mind and just read the words. (I did change the words a teensy bit – I could not bring myself to add the word “ain’t” to my scrapbook journaling…I just couldn’t do it.)Great message, right?  Well, I think it is – and that’s why I wanted to add them to a page for my kiddos – I don’t think we can remind our kids (or ourselves for that matter) enough about the importance of pressing on.  Life is hard.  There will be lots of hard times - bumps in the road…and hills to climb.  Life is not always what you think it will be.  No matter.  Keep moving.  Keep climbing.  It will be worth it.

You can see how some of the other design team members used this sketch HERE.  I love how differently everyone interpreted the same sketch. :)

Now, on another note…I have to tell you how much I have loved being on the Pebbles, Inc. design team for the last year.  Not only are the products great, but the company and design team leader have been absolutely fabulous to work with.  Guess what?

They just announced that they are ready to call a new design team for 2011-2012!  You can read all about it here!  If you love Pebbles product and would like to apply for a design team, I would definitely encourage you to give it a shot! :0)

supplies2

Floral Lane - My Darling

Floral Lane – With Love

Floral Lane – With Delight

Floral Lane – candy dot buttons (surf)

Floral Lane – abc Stickers (brown)

Floral Lane – Dimensional Phrase Stickers

White Cardstock

Uni-ball Signo RT .38 black pen

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

my favorite 4th of july decoration…

This isn’t new, but I have a feeling it might be “new” to some of my blog readers.  I made this in 2009, when I was on the American Crafts design team, for an assignment.  I had a great time putting it together…and I love bringing it out every year to decorate for the 4th of July.

 flag2

I love adding machine stitching to my scrapbook projects – the same goes for home d├ęcor projects.

flag3

The stars were cut from patterned paper and added with pop dots.

flag4flag5

No project of mine seems complete without a button! ;)

flag6

Being creative hasn’t been at the very top of my “to do” list recently (as you probably could have guessed after reading my previous 2 posts), so I haven’t made anything new to decorate for the 4th of July this year…which really makes me glad I have some “older” decorations I love to bring out. :o)

Monday, June 27, 2011

in photos…

I didn’t have my camera with me the first 2 days we were at PCMC.  Even if I would have had it, I don’t think I would have taken any photos.  Those first couple of days were so scary…and not really anything I need photos of – the images of my sweet little boy laying there asleep in that big hospital bed with so many tubes and wires connected to him - while we questioned what was happening and when it would end - are forever burned into my brain…and that’s almost too much to bear. 

Once we felt like he was going to be okay, Brad and I hurried home one night to quickly shower and change our clothes…and that’s when I picked up my camera.  It still took me a little while to have the desire to get it out and take any photos – but now I’m glad I did.

This photo was taken in the ICU.  The little blue teddy bear that’s by his pillow was given to him in the ambulance on the way to PCMC.  I can’t begin to express how happy I was to see those big brown eyes open up and focus on me…and that sweet sweet smile return to his face.

Z1

He was so excited to see his sister and brothers on Sunday.  They were only able to stay for a short visit – but I think it was good for everyone to be together again for a bit.  I’m so grateful that my parents were willing to come home from their vacation (after being gone for less than 2 days) to take care of our other kids while we were at the hospital.  It was so comforting to know they were being taken care of so we didn’t have any extra stress beyond what we were facing at the hospital.

Z2

This drawing was created for us by the neurologist as he explained the location of Zach’s strokes.  There is so much to know about the brain and how it works.  We learned a lot in those few days…more than we ever wanted to hoped to need to know.  Trust me, though, this is NOT the way I would recommend learning about it.

We felt so blessed to have had such caring, patient, and amazing doctors and nurses with us the entire time. 

Z3

On Monday, Zach was moved from the PICU to the Neuroscience Trauma Unit.

Z13Z14

He could sit up to 45 degrees for an hour at a time – but that was all – because his blood pressure was still really low.  The nurse brought him some cut-out wood cars to paint – and he was so excited!

Z4

On Wednesday, he was finally able to sit up straight and go for a wheelchair ride.  He was thrilled to be able to get out of bed – can’t you tell?!?  Our sweet neighbors brought him a huge gift basket and one of the items included was a bag with lots of quarters and a label that said “vending machine money.”  You can bet he was all over that – and every wheelchair ride landed us at the vending machine in the hall.  I don’t think he actually finished any of the treats he bought…but the idea alone was enough to get him super excited.

Z5

No words for this one…only tears of gratitude – seeing all four of them together made my heart sing.

Z6

And finally, on Friday, he was able to get up and walk with the physical therapist.

Z7

And build marble towers with the occupational therapist.

Z8

His balance and coordination were completely normal…

Z9

And he even got to cruise the halls on this fun bike – with the physical therapist very close by.

Z10

One last IV steroid treatment to go…

Z11Z12

And he was finally officially released!

Z15

I was sure happy to be able to turn around from my seat in the van and see him sitting right behind me.

Z16

And when we pulled into our driveway at home, we found the kids and my parents waiting to welcome Zach home…complete with a banner, balloons, and lots of hand-drawn posters decorating the house.  :o)

Z17

We’ve been home for a week and Zach is doing amazingly well!  He is back to doing most everything he was doing before (I still haven’t let him jump on the trampoline or ride his bike…but we’re working up to it).  He has had more water and gatorade to drink in the last two weeks than you can imagine.  He had a follow-up appointment with his local pediatrician and it went great.  We’ll have an appointment with his neurologist in a few weeks. 

I’m finally starting to feel normal again.  We’ve caught up on our sleep and gotten our emotions under control (for the most part).  We feel incredibly blessed to have our family and friends continue to pray for us and check on our well-being. ;)  Thank you for all of your kind thoughts and words – they are all VERY appreciated!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

you never know how much your life can change…

I know there are a few of you out there wondering where I’ve been and why I haven’t been posting…so just in case you haven’t heard…here’s a short re-cap of my life from the last couple of weeks. 

You know Zach, right?

zachary_june4th

(This photo was taken on June 4th, right after his freezing cold back yard slip & slide adventure.)

He’s our super busy, never sit down, always on-the-go, soccer playing, trampoline jumping, bike and scooter riding, happy-go-lucky, sweet 5-year-old little boy. 

I don’t really know how to begin to retell our little story, so here’s a snippet from an e-mail I sent to a friend yesterday:

We are home and doing really well.  If you were here looking at Zach, you would NEVER guess anything was (or has been) ever wrong with him.  He looks 100% normal and acts the same as he did before.  He had two strokes on Thursday night (June 9th).  We didn't know until Friday night what had happened.  He had fallen asleep early on Thursday, which I didn't think anything of since the kids had been playing hard outside in the sunshine all day...but then I couldn't get him to wake up on Friday.  He would kind of  wake up...but was really really groggy, his words were slurred, and he couldn't really stand or walk without help.  I honestly thought maybe he'd hit his head and had a concussion, so I called our pediatrician.  They made an appointment, but then called right back and said to bring him in immediately.  From there we were sent straight to our local ER...and then Zach was taken by ambulance to Primary Children's Hospital. 

We waited for what felt like an eternity in the ER at PCMC…not a fun place for any parent to be – especially with a little child who won’t/can’t wake up.  He had an MRI about midnight and we found out about the strokes around 2:00 am.    We also found out that he has had a stroke previously - about a year ago - we're pretty sure we know when it was now...we were at the lake one evening and he started walking/leaning sideways and couldn't walk straight.  But it only lasted for a few minutes, so we dismissed it as maybe being dehydrated since we were out in the sun at the lake all afternoon.  Needless to say it was a long long night - followed by several VERY long days.  He had a ton of tests and everything kept coming back normal, so they couldn't determine what had caused his strokes.  Spinal tap, multiple blood tests, ultrasounds of his heart, and plenty of other tests.  They did an angiogram on Monday where they discovered that the arteries and veins in his head aren't formed correctly.  They are way too small...so his body has been trying to compensate by creating hundreds of little tiny blood vessels to send oxygen to the parts of his brain that weren't getting enough.  It's amazing how the body tries to heal itself (the neurologist said it's been going on for years, and since he is only 5, it sounds like it has been happening for most of his life)...and we had NO idea anything was wrong.  He is our MOST active, coordinated kid of all of our kids at age 5.  He is smart and right on level where he should be for learning.  It's crazy. 

Zach was so amazing in the hospital.  We spent a couple of days in the PICU – and when Brad and I could barely hold it together, Zach was being strong and brave.  He was poked and prodded and tested and he didn’t complain once.  Once he was awake and responsive, he was talkative and happy and cute with the doctors and nurses.  He answered their questions (and asked several of his own).  The doctors and nurses were amazing.  Angels.  Honestly.  There was one nurse who asked Zach if they could still be friends after she had to have the IV team come and start a new IV for him.  He replied, “Yes, we can still be friends.  But I live in Heber.  Heber City.  That’s pretty far from here.  So when you come visit, you should bring food.  Or at least a drink.”  It was so funny how he took everything in stride.  Even when they were starting new IV’s he barely whimpered when he was being poked.  And he loved ordering his own meals (whatever and whenever he wanted).  When he could finally eat again, he was all about the macaroni and cheese and watermelon.  He drank gallons of gatorade too (gatorade and water are his new best friends and he will be carrying it with him every moment of every day all summer long).

At this point, there's not a lot they can do for him.  There's no magic pill (unfortunately) and no surgery to "fix it."  He will take baby aspirin every day and we need to make sure he is always VERY hydrated...dehydration could easily cause another stroke.  Other than that...we will watch him closely and pray a lot.  We're just grateful that his stroke doesn't seem to have caused any permanent physical damage.  His face was droopy on one side and his body was weak on the other side...but that seems to have all gone away.

Right now I feel like I'm coming out of a fog -- both from the physical/emotional exhaustion and just knowing what we know now and how it will affect his future.  Brad and I both feel like he will be okay.  Even at the scariest times, we both had a feeling of peace and knowledge that he would be okay.  Zach was given a priesthood blessing which comforted and reassured us as well.  We don’t know what the future holds – beyond lots of follow-up, tests, and perhaps over-protective parenting…but we are grateful for those moments of peace and reassurance we felt while we were sitting at his bedside, frightened and completely overwhelmed with worry.

We are so grateful for family and friends who have helped us out over the last several days…we’ve received so many phone calls, texts, e-mail messages, and even visits – it’s overwhelming when I think about how many people have been concerned and worried for us.  There have been so many people praying for Zach and our family.  There’s no way we can truly thank you all for all you have done.  Perhaps the best way is to remind everyone of how precious life is.  We never know how our lives can change in a matter of moments.  Hug your kids.  Give them your time and attention and love.  Don’t wait for a scary emergency to take a good look at your priorities. 

I’m taking this week to recharge…I haven't started "working" yet...I need to let the dust settle a bit more before I can put any energy or focus into that – I’m not quite ready to be creative again…but I will say that this has also been a reminder about how important it is to me to record our stories – and I choose to do that through scrapbooking, so I’ll be back soon – creating more pages and photos and sharing the moments, stories, and feelings that make my life what it is...the good and the bad and the scary too.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers as well as your patience and understanding while I transition back into my (new) "real life." :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

here, home, hope…a review and a giveaway…

**Thank you so much for your comments.  This giveaway is now closed.  The winner has been contacted.  Watch for more fun giveaways coming soon! **

Are you looking for a good book to read this summer?  I’ve got one for you…it would be perfect to read as you lounge by the pool or relax on the porch swing…OR if you’re like me, you’ll be reading it between soccer games or while you’re waiting for swimming lessons to end.  Either way – it’s a good one and I’d definitely recommend it!  The book is fiction, but has really has some great advice in it.  I’ve already copied a page in the appendix that lists all of the main character’s “T2C’s” (her abbreviation for “things 2 change”) – it’s a great reference to use for myself. It’s definitely a pretty quick and easy read, but it’s not completely shallow – it has depth and a great plot that touches on many of the challenges we might be facing ourselves.  I received a complimentary copy of this book a few weeks ago from the One2One Network.
Here’s what they had to say about the book: “It’s not often you come across a book that is one part fun, chick-lit, one part soul searching drama and one part self-help book. Kaira Rouda’s debut novel, Here, Home, Hope is  just that. Our 39-year old protagonist is Kelly Mills Johnson, a stay-at-mom of two sons and wife to successful attorney, Patrick. Her life is fairly normal and drama free, if you don’t count that cancer scare last December. Kelly knows she’s healthy but that glance at impending mortality has had a greater affect on her than she guessed. It’s summer now, the boys are at camp, Patrick is busy at work and Kelly finds herself in the dentist’s office because she keeps grinding her teeth. She’s determined to figure out what’s causing it and so sets forth on a journey of self discovery that ends up including reconnecting with friends, starting a business and daily being thankful for the blessings in her life.”
Here, Home, Hope is available in stores and online. If you want to order this book today, it’s available on Amazon.com for only $10!  Or if you’re more technologically advanced than I am, it’s available for your Kindle for only $2.48!!  You can follow Kaira on Twitter or catch up with her on Facebook. To learn a little more about Kaira, her writing and other pursuits, you can read our interview with her as well! 
Before you go…check out this quick little book trailer:
 
What do you think?  Are you interested?  Would you like a chance to win a copy for yourself?!?  Just leave a comment telling me one thing that would be on your personal T2C (things 2 change) list…and I’ll choose a random winner who will receive a copy of this great book from One2One!  I’ll choose a winner Monday morning!

winner…

Dang, I am shocked there were only two comments and I wish wish wish I could have Sneak Attack Media send both of you a CD.

albumart

Todays winner is:

 

Julie McDonnell said...

Okay that was way too cute! I watched the video immediately and love it! I just had to download that song to my ipod! Would love the entire cd!
Thanks for the opp!
Julie McD
scraps4abc@verizon.net

Thursday, June 09, 2011 2:23:00 PM

Julie, I’m sending you an e-mail…

Thanks again to Sneak Attack Media for sending me a CD to enjoy and review –

and for offering to send one to one of my blog readers!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

my new favorite treat…

…and they are pretty healthy too (as treats go)!

This is one product that I would see at the grocery store and pass…kind of one of those things that I just couldn’t imagine how it would taste and I wasn’t willing to spend my money to buy it because I wasn’t confident enough that I would like it.  So when One2One Network sent me a free sample in the mail, I was anxious to try it. 

Let me just say – I totally should have bought these treats the FIRST time I saw them!  Yummy!  I could eat the whole package by myself…but I can’t because Brad and the kids like them too.  They are a crispy cookie – almost like a cracker, but the cranberries are chewy and yummy.  The citrus flavor is subtle, but it’s definitely there – and definitely good. 

If you’re looking for a delicious new snack to take on your summer road trip, or day at the park, or just to have at your house – you should definitely give these a try.

I tried the Cranberry Citrus Oat flavor, but they are also available in:

Blueberry Brown Sugar

Raspberry Chocolate

and Fig and Honey.

I think the Raspberry Chocolate are going to come home with me next time I visit the grocery store!

Have you tried any of these flavors?  Do you like them?  Do you have a favorite *new* snack for the summer?  I’d love to hear from you ! :o)

**You can read more about these snacks – including the nutrition information HERE on the Nabisco Website.**

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

happy music…

It’s been a long long time since I’ve reviewed any new music here on my blog.  Last time I did it, I got some really snarky comments…so let me begin by saying that anything I say here on my own personal blog about music (or anything else) is just my opinion.  If you don’t agree, that’s okay – different opinions make the world go ‘round, right?   But please don’t leave rude comments for me…it makes me sad!  Anyway…I recently received this CD from Sneak Attack Media:

albumart

{I love this cover – don’t you??}

He is We…My Forever

Have you heard of them? I hadn’t heard of them before…but I’m glad I have now!  Their music is just fresh and clean, upbeat, and mostly uplifting (though there’s one song that probably wouldn’t be categorized as uplifting…but it is still good).  The tempo is great for a listening while you’re taking a nice brisk walk (or a slow-paced jog) in the early hours on a crisp summer morning…at least I think so – that’s when I’ve been listening to it. :o)

Here’s a little bit of information about He Is We – “They are a new Universal Motown group who's sweet pop tunes are both inspiring and inviting. Their new album New Forever is outstanding, a true testimonial to the love songs we all grew up on, not to mention it hit #6 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and #3 on the iTunes Pop Chart. The group recently released a video for lead track "Happily Ever After," which you can watch HERE!  The lyrics are all kind of geared toward younger folks, but I don’t mind…I like Taylor Swift too – so that might give you some idea where my opinions come from. ;) 

If you’re interested in listening to samples or ordering the CD, you can check it out on Amazon or I-tunes.  (or you can download the MP3 on Amazon too).

Be sure to watch the "Happily Ever After" Video .

If you like what you see and you’d like a chance to win a copy of the CD for yourself, leave me a comment (with your name and e-mail address so I can find you if you win)  and I’ll pick a winner – Sneak Attack Media will send you your own CD!  I’ll choose a winner Friday morning.

Monday, June 06, 2011

winners…

First of all, the winner of the Slice Brayer is comment #4 -

image

Dede Williams said...

I didn't know what to think of my 'hands-free' kit. Now its my go to supply. Thanks for your awesome blog.

Dede, please send an e-mail to Maricarmen (mnecochea@makingmemories.com) at Making Memories and she’ll get your information so you can receive you prize!

brayer

Thanks to Making Memories for donating a fun prize for this giveaway!

 

And second of all, if you are CONNIE…you didn’t leave any contact information on your comment to win a copy of this sweet little magazine –

EASYCARDSCOVER

please e-mail me so I can send you your issue!

Ashley and Janet – your copies are going in the mail today! :o)

Friday, June 03, 2011

time for another friday slice post, some winners, and ANOTHER giveaway!!…

Do you brayer?  Or would that be: do you bray?  Either way, I have a confession to make.  I have been using the Making Memories Slice since before it was even available to purchase…and I hadn’t ever used their brayer tool until last week. 

brayer

I thought it wasn’t a big deal.  I thought it wouldn’t make a hill of beans difference.  I thought I didn’t need it.  I couldn’t see how it would make cutting any easier.  Then I found out I was going to be able to give away a brayer to one of my blog readers.  I figured I should probably try it out – after all, I wouldn’t want to give away something I didn’t think was awesome.  So I tried it.  Guess what?  It is awesome.  It truly does make a difference.  I had always tried to press down my paper to a nicely coated cutting mat…and I thought I was doing a pretty good job of it…but the brayer does it WAY better than I could have done it before.  And now the cuts are smoother and more even.  So now I’m a convert.  I love my brayer.  I have used it every time I have used my Slice since that first (very skeptical) use.

Here’s a video of cute Jenny demonstrating how to use the brayer tool.  It’s pretty simple – but it truly does make a difference!

Would you like to try it?  I bet you’ll be converted too!  I have a Slice Brayer Tool to give away to one of my readers today.  Leave me a comment telling me something you were skeptical of, until you tried it…I hope I’m not the only one who is brave enough to eat her words (and skepticism) today!  I’ll leave the comments open until next Monday.  Have a great weekend!!

{If you are on Facebook, be sure to become a FAN of the SLICE FACEBOOK FAN PAGE so you can be the first to know about new products, project ideas, tips & tricks, and giveaways too! :o)}

And now, the winners of my giveaway for this cute little idea book:

EASYCARDSCOVER

I have THREE copies to share! 

If you are:

 

janet said...

Wendy Sue and Cosmo Cricket together...wow- a NICE combonation...GREAT job on the cards. And thanks for the chance to win! My weekend was spend doing lots of planting flowers, yardwork, and lots of grilling with family and friends. Making S'mores was super fun!!

OR

 

Super cute creations! I love them all!

OR

connie said...

I spent Memorial Day weekend driving home from a weekend with my BFF!! Thanks for a chance to win.

 

Please e-mail me with your mailing information so

I can send you your very own copy of Easy Cards and More!

Happy Weekend! :o)

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

what a difference…

…24 hours can make!!

Here’s our front yard on Thursday morning:

front_before

And here it is on Friday morning:

front_after

Yay for grass! :0)