Michelle Underwood's Design Team

YIPEE! I've been chosen to join Michelle Underwood's Design Team. And as regular readers know - I use her kits all the time. I'm so excited!! You can bet there will be many more layouts using her kits in my future. I think she is gifted with her color palettes and I love lots of ribbons. Michelle's kits seem to compliment my pictures perfectly. She is one of the best designers out there making digital scrapbook supplies. Hope to meet some of the other Design Team members to geek out over digi scrapping. Thank you, Michelle, for this wonderful opportunity!

Off to go pick up Prevacid for the little one. Then to Tar-jaay to get more containers for storing away clothes that the little ones have grown out of. And I'm on the search for the Word Whammer by Leap Frog. We have the Fridge Phonics and love it. We don't use the phonics part too much now since J knows most of the sounds - but, man, they are our most powerful magnets that hold up all sorts of fridge-worthy artwork! Oh, I totally forgot to blog about this most blog-worthy event.... one of my proudest moments as a parent... a week and a half ago Jessi read her first book by herself! She's been pseudo-reading for a while (with an amazing memory she'd recite stories that she had heard us read... some favorites of hers to pseudo-read are: Biscuit, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, and The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog). We were both so excited when we finished that first book. She sounded all out the words phonetically (we read Mat from the BOB books - she had a little trouble with Sam - because we don't know any people named Sam... and we haven't read Green Eggs and Ham in a while. Since my electric green egg dinner to commemorate Dr. Seuess's 100th birthday... maybe that was a traumatic experience for all involved! Anyway... errands to run, food shopping too and my in-laws are coming for a visit.

Aha! I found it. Isn't it great? I love the little clothespins and the embossing!! Thanks Abs! I bet you didn't think I still had this!!


We have another convert!

I used the New Beginnings Kit. I recently took this picture of the kids and noticed - hey, they both have their fingers in their mouth. J has always been a two-finger sucker and R seems to be developing into a thumb sucker when he needs comforting. And he's been gumming it because I *think* he's teething. He's been generally cranky and is running a fever so it could be something else entirely on top of teething. And I have no idea what temperature he's running because our %&*@ thermometer is missing. It's been missing since the move (yes, June 04). No I'm not totally a slacker mom... I did go and buy a new one for like 50 %&*@ dollars and I've come to discover it doesn't work!! And we threw away the packaging so couldn't return it. And I refuse (for the meantime) to buy another thermometer. I can tell if they have a fever and most of the time fevers go away (and as my good friend and pediatrician says: "a fever is the body's way of fighting of infection")... if they start acting wierd (nay, lethargic) I'll take 'em to the doctor. Do I sound more lax than all of you that know me know that I'm not? Perhaps... maybe it's because it's the second child or maybe it's the Three Martini Playdate effect (no I haven't just had three martinis... I read a book by the same title - very funny.) It's just that I've done it enough times with my first child where I've rushed to the doctor because of a fever to only have to wait forever to see the doctor and then to only hear that there's really nothing that can be done. In my defense... his diapers are wet, he's eating, he's smiling and laughing occassionally... so don't go calling Social Services because I don't have a working themometer.

Okay enough from me. Enjoy the newest layout. Thanks Holly for some fun papers to work with.

Oh, and some exciting news! I got off the phone recently with an friend from middle school and high school and she's converted to digital scrapping (just received PSE and everything and she's starting her first layout with Sweet Sprinkles by Shabby Princess - can't go wrong)! How psyched I am!! Abby, you're going to do great!! I can't wait to see your awesome creations.

She the one who turned me on to stamping and cardmaking...I'll have to post a card that she made a while back (that she probably doesn't even know that I still have)...let me go find it.

Edited to add: I looked for the scan of the card and can't find it right now... and I don't have any energy to go re-scan it. I'm pooped. I'm off to veg for a while. Nighty-night.


Presenting... the Cool Waters bracelet. We had beading time today where Jessi got to make a necklace out of the beads she picked out at the store (and I picked out beads that I wanted to use). These all were from my stash (with the exception of the clasp). I've always wanted to do more beading but never like anything I came up with. Now I'm liking the creations. I think the key for me is spacers - all kinds. I'm in love with them... is that possible?

Just bought a new kit: Holly's New Beginnings. Proceeds go to MS to help her raise money for her MS walk effort (you go girl!) Can these colors get any better? I love blues and greens - and they look awesome together. Can't wait to use them. I especially love the jelly ribbon sliders and the phone rolodex cards.

Ooooh. I love Denise's new kit. Henna-inspired in a neutral color scheme that will surely make breath-taking LOs. Yep, added to my mental wish list. I want to start making my own kits.... but I don't want them to suck. lol! And I've tried a few times and I've thought they, well, sucked!! I want to make them of the quality that I would actually want to buy myself (so it'd have to be up there with Gina Cabrera, Michelle Underwood, Shabby Princess, DigiChick, Denise Doughery, Anna Aspnes). Yes, I set the bar high!! Hopefully this won't mean that I won't have a kit out for another year. We'll see. It'd mean less time for actual scrapping and I still have so much to scrap!! Do any of you designers have any suggestions on getting started? Ta-ta for now. Going to draw with my princess!!


A little present for my Mom - the latest school picture of the kids!!

The scan makes it look as if this has baby blue crystals when, in fact, they are clear... so much for the scanning bed of mine! And I didn't spend too much time extracting in PS... but there you have it. I made this bracelet today and I'm pleased with how it turned out. I love love love the toggle/clasp on this... much better than the lobster clasp for bracelets in my opinion because I, honestly, can never close them without help.

Old World Style

I can't believe that this is the only picture of the 2 of us on our Italilan vacation (the last real vacation before kids! way back in 2001)... but it is. We were on a vaparetto (sp?) and held the camera out and took it ourselves. We tried to get other photos by asking other people to take our pictures but they always come out fuzzy or with our heads chopped off. All elements are from Ronna Penner's Old World Style (except the staple which is by Michelle Underwood - Ralphie kit). I'm liking this altered book style kind of thing.

Need to buy more of her kits... like the Afternoon Tea one.


All of the elements are from Digital Design Essentials (most are from Spring Fling Kit). From a Fall dress-up extravaganza. Fun!!

This is the personal business card that I made to hand out to my friends about our upcoming phone # change. Elements are from Gina Cabrera's Happy Girl and Sweet Stuff and Neutron (digital design essentials) and Michelle Underwood's Happiness and Laughter (plae cucumber flower). I used Pegsanna for my name and phone number and Century Gothic for my title (SAHM) on the tag. Creative and fun way to send out some boring info!!

Top Secret

Last night I worked on a Top Secret craft project. I was very pleased with the outcome. I will post pictures after the recipients receive their gifts (in May). Today I want to go to Michael's to get gift boxes for these presents... and I really need to remember to make a grooming appt for Linky.

Last night I also downloaded songs to my iPod myself for the first time. I wanted to try out some new(-to-me) music so I downloaded some singles and an older album from Coldplay, Jack Johnson, older Sarah McLachlan, Garbage, Keane.


Cold, dreary day

Today the weather is COLD! What happened to the Summer weather we had last week? Well that's Spring for you. Both kids are napping right now (which you know means that they will not be going to bed at a normal time - uggh!).

We had our Passover seder last night just the 3/4 of us (Ryan was cranky so he spent most of the seder in his crib). I love matzo ball soup. I brought some over to my neighbor who had never had them before and she loved it. J ate only matzo ball soup and charoset for dinner last night. But I do remember doing something similar when I was a kid (probably 2 bowls of soup for me though - I love my soup - even to this day).

We visited with some friends earlier in the day and then went to the mall to return a shirt that hubby needed to bring back (exchanged them for shorts for me - 2x my normal size - ick). I did get to visit Beadazzled, a really cool bead store (I was inspired after reading about Holly's Crafting Weekend). I found some stuff that I was going to get but the line was so long and I heard some members of my *very cranky* crew outside so I cut the visit short. That's why online shopping is perfect. I can shop after the kids are asleep. When I can have a complete thought. No rushing. No feeling guilty that someone is wanting my attention while I'm off doing something that I enjoy. No attitude. No dirty looks. But tonight instead I will probably spend time getting some space back on my hard drive. I have to clean it off about once a week now because of my digital scrapbooking hobby. Between the layouts, the kits I buy, the freebies... it takes up tons of disk space (but my scrap space is so clean compared to what it would be if I was paper scrapping!). Last night was a CD burning night too.

No workout today. Should, but I feel so dog-gone tired. Maybe it's the weather. This week there's no school so finding some time will be challenging but I really need to DO IT.

Good news - our CSA application got accepted. We'll be getting yummy fresh-from-the-farm produce starting in May!!

On our way to our friend's house I was reading through a Fine Cooking mag that's been sitting in my car, unread.. so I have some cooking inspiration for the upcoming weeks. Some braised veggies. Pan-searing recipes for chicken and salmon that are mouth-watering. AND there was a recipe for the perfect spaghetti and meatballs that looked delicious - and there was nothing exotic. It was probably the kind my mom made growing up - I'll have to run it by her to see if it's the same. The article and recipes were written by Frank Pellegrino (of Rao's - the same makers of my favorite bottled marinara sauce) - it's a gotta try.

Here's a LO *in progress* for Ryan's first year baby album. For each month I'm doing a 2-page LO with all the pictures I want Ryan to see when he's grown for that particular month (even if they don't always coordinate with one another). I like the Neutron Kit from Digital Design Essentials but I know that my top left photo and the small group photo don't match. I didn't love how it looked when the photos were B&W. Still trying to figure out what I want to do with it. I'll let it sit for now. (My Baby You'll Always Be tag is by Traci Simms.).


We just applied to join a CSA! I'm so excited at being a part of eating food grown locally and supporting a nearby farm. Their weekly produce schedule looks delectable. I think there are still openings so I'll just wait to hear if we've been accepted. We're planning on splitting a full share with another family. With CSA membership we get fresh produce DELIVERED to us (can you believe it?) and weekly u-pick access to the farm (with produce that we pick included - with limits of maximums for very popular items - like strawberries; we get a maximum of 6 qts included, if we want more we would just pay extra for that). This is something I've always wanted to do ever since I first about it 7+ years ago. YIPEE!


All elements from Serenity kit from Denise Docherty, brush is recifedirty1. I have always loved this picture of me and my daughter and though it would be great for this kit.

Okay, I added stuff to the layout. I added journaling and flowers (from sillybirdnut - passion for posies - 3).

Girl Time. Left some room at the top to add journalling (maybe). This kit is new from the Shabby Princess (and always free!). I think she totally rocks!! This LO is part of my simple series (in the effort to not take 5 hours for a layout.


This was a card from a few months ago that I made for my aunt with my *paper* scrapbook supplies.

If only all of us had the confidence that my 3 1/2 year old has!! Here she is with her temporary tattoos (on both cheeks, neck, and feet - that's the part that these photos don't show) that lasted 2 1/2 weeks! They are finally gone after much scrubbing. This layout is from Shabby Princess's new Shabby Mommy available from Scribbles. The dot overlay shapes are from Serenity by Denise Dougherty, straight stitching from Digital Design Essentials. Journaling reads: "I hope you always maintain the confidence that you possess right now. You are bold, smart, spunky, and so loving. You are going to do great things in this world. And no one is going to stop you." Fonts: Lainie Day, Beautiful ES, Pharmacy.

Muffin Madness. The pictures are familiar. Inspiration is from Natural Beauty LO in Scrapbooks, Etc. May/June '05 issue (p 62) by Shannon Landen. Credits: Michelle Underwood's Wrapped in Color, Gina Cabrera's Shabby Princess, Gina Cabrera's Sweetest Thing, Mo Jackson's Ashley, Metal plate from Gaucho Girl, M Stencil Alpha - Michelle Underwood's Baby Girl. Fonts: WIll & Grace, Weezer, My Type of Font, SF Remember, Antique Type, Seraphim.


Went for a run this morning. Yep, the first real one since sometime in 2003. I felt as if I would die. Okay, I admit exaggeration but, man, it was TOUGH! My little legs didn't want to go. And it didn't help that much more of my body is giggly now than it was on my last run. I felt my whole body move up and down with each plod! Need to do this more so I can giggle less. But I feel very energetic now so I did another LO for my son's album. And I used Anna Aspnes' Little Charmer kit again. The tie is from Dianne Rigdon's Moving Day that I believe was available free in one of the recent SBB Ezines. The photo prongs are from Gina Cabrera's Shabby Prince kit. Isn't he just amazingly cute? Yes, yes, I am *very* biased. The cutie pie is sleeping right now so I am munching on some early lunch of turkey breast and smelly pesto (and oh so delicious) on... drum roll please... 100% whole wheat bread. Yes this is the baby step to healthy eating (more whole foods) that I am taking. I can't do millet as a side. I can't convince the family to eat asparagus (so I ate the whole bunch myself over a 2 day span). Gotta go pick up the big munchkin soon. Have a good day everyone!!


Simply Adorable. This is one of my all-time favorite pictures of my daughter and when I saw Gina Cabrera's new Sweet Stuff kit I knew I had to scrap with it. Go and check out some of her new kits at http://www.digitaldesignessentials.com. I will likely add some journaling under the date but I haven't done it yet.

Okay - already added journalling and changed it. I'm done. No more. Not going to mess with it. Need to not spend 5 hours on each layout being obsessive. Makes it less fun.


Added some ribbon and string (with key) from Ronna Penner's Old World Charm to the Favorite Pastimes layout since I though it had too much deadspace. Here's the revised version.


Love the idea of a calendar LO. First saw the idea in a LO by Becky Higgins in Creating Keepsakes. Little Charmer kit by Anna Aspnes.

We haven't done any baking in the house for a few months and with two very ripe bananas staring me in the face this morning it was quite clear that we had to make some banana chocolate chip muffins.

Turning on the mixer to cream the butter and the sugar.

Peeling the banana. Because after all, they are banana muffins... and no one around the house likes ripe ones for eating out of hand.

In goes the milk.

Scoopin' out some flour.

In go the chocolate chips

Putting *PRINCESS* MUFFIN CUPS in the muffin pan!

One chocolate chip for the batter bowl, three for me.

The mini-muffins are ready to go in the oven.

The anticipation!!

Don't touch! They have to cool...

And the taste!

Thumbs Up Approval. Folks, we have a winner!

Story of Us - Favorite Pastimes. I think it needs something else/more so I will probably play around with it some more.


A new favorite - Sriracha Barbecue Dipping Sauce

We just had dinner and the siracha bbq dipping sauce was worth writing about. This comes from Cooking Light and the sauce has a sweet spiciness that makes you want to keep eating it even though your mouth is tingling.

I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts as I always do. We don't do dark meat at my place. And I cut it up into little 1-inch chunks, perfectly dippable. I served it with jasmine rice (the only rice we eat at our house), and edamame sprinkled with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Easy and quick is my motto these days and this recipe fits those (and the marinade and dipping sauce can be done ahead of time - like when the kids are asleep - so it makes it even quicker)!

* Exported from MasterCook *

Seared Chicken with Sriracha Barbecue Dipping Sauce

Recipe By :David Bonom "Turn Up The Heat"
Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : greatest hits main dishes
make ahead poultry

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1/4 cup chopped shallots
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
4 garlic cloves -- minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dark sesame oil -- divided
8 (2-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken thighs
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon Sriracha -- (hot chile sauce, such as Huy Fong)
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
4 teaspoons rice vinegar

Combine first 5 ingredients; stir in 1/2 teaspoon oil. Place shallot mixture in a large zip-top plastic bag; add chicken to bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 3 hours to overnight, turning bag occasionally.

Combine ketchup and next 4 ingredients (through vinegar).

Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Add chicken to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 8 minutes or until done, turning twice. Serve with ketchup mixture.

Serving size: 2 thighs and 1 tablespoon ketchup mixture.

CALORIES 194 (27% from fat); FAT 5.9g (sat 1.3g, mono 1.9g. poly 1.7g); PROTEIN 22.8g; CARB 11.7g; FIBER 0.3g; CHOL 94mg; IRON 1.4mg; SODIUM 451mg; CALC 20mg

"Cooking Light Magazine, July 2004. page 112"
"© 2004 by Southern Living, Inc. ."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 85 Calories; 2g Fat (23.0% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 17g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 1mg Cholesterol; 136mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1/2 Fat; 1 Other Carbohydrates.

NOTES : Use this all-purpose sauce for pork, shrimp, or seared tofu. Make it when you start marinating the chicken. Serve over sticky white rice to counter the heat of the dipping sauce. Toss edamame with soy sauce, garlic, and hoisin to complete the meal.


Spring has Sprung!

There is something about seeing the first good asparagus and artichokes that brings a tear to my eye and lets me know that Spring is finally here! I grew up in Florida so the fact that it could even BE cool or cold on my birthday is something that I will never get used to. After row after row of disappointing vegetables at my local Giant I went to the fancy grocery store today (Wegmans!!) and was so delighted! First off, the people are so much more pleasant. They actually treat you like a customer. Like they actually appreciate that you choose to shop there over other stores! Imagine that! And the produce is gorgeous. Not as good as Whole Foods which is my fruit and veggie heaven but simply gorgeous nonetheless. I was so excited to see good looking food that surely I bought more than we will eat this week. But I will try to entice the little one with steamed asparagus with a garlic aoli. She already asked for some of my artichokes, and well I only bought 2 so I felt the preschool urge to withhold and say, "No it's mine!" -- but don't worry I always share. And I love that she WANTS and ASKS for artichoke leaves!!

You'll find me over at the Cooking Light boards again hopefully getting some dinner inspiration! I plan on grilling alot this year. I plan on trying take a peek at Steven Rachlin's marinade book. I checked it out from the library a year ago and it had lots of great recipes. Love marinading a piece of chicken, throwing it on the grill and Voila - Dinner!

Today is my dh's birthday! Happy 35th MC! I just picked up some cake for us to celebrate tonight - yum. And tonight we'll be having crab cakes with french fries for dinner.


Here's a nice touch that Mike arranged for my 30th Birthday Dinner. Delish! What a sweetie pie I married. Thank you MC! I love you!!!

Two days a go we had spa time. I gave J a manicure and did her hair. I was able to French braid it and she just loved her fancy hair style! She wanted me to do it again for her for her school friends to see. See even though I'm not a girly-girl now... I have girly-girl tendencies!

Here's the most recent knitting project. I'm about halfway through the chart. The only thing left is the actual heart. I love how it's turning out. Intarsia is very satisfying, but I can't figure out how not to get in a tangled mess at the end of every row. Good thing this first intarsia attempt only involved two colors.


Knittin' Again

After receiving my Rowan magazine (and letting it sit for a month) I decided to pick it up and read it. There were several things that I thought were very nice so I picked up my knitting needles again after a few months break. I badly need to seam up the sweater that I've been knitting for my daughter that's been finished for months. She could have worn it this past Fall and Winter but it sat in a bag with no sides or sleeves. So my goal is to finish it soon! Maybe she'll be able to wear it for any chilly days or nights this Spring. It'll still fit this Fall (hopefully). And I did some rows on Imp (see sidebar for a pic, as I don't have any news ones today - but stay tuned). I also did 2 rows of intarsia - a first!! I have no idea if I did it right. I'll have to see if it turns out to be hole-y!!

I found a new park today (new-to-me). It's so much fun to find new places and things that bring joy to my little girl's face! She was having a great time climbing up steps and speeding down the slides. And I don't even have to mention the slides, do I? The best. While we were there we also ran into some of her preschool friends so that made it all the more fun! Of course, I didn't bring water since it was an impromptu, after-carpool-drop-off park trip, just to check out this new one I heard about. I had no idea it would be a cool one that we'd want to stay at. Reminder... always bring water.

We just hung up the birdhouse that my daughter painted. I still haven't put out the one I painted - didn't have enough hands since I was holding the baby. He had his first leaf experience. It was so cute he was just playing with a leaf that I gave him to touch and he was amazed by the whole thing. It entertained him for 10 minutes!!

Oh, I don't fit into any of my non-elastic, pre-pregnancy clothes. This is a depressing fact. I should really put away my maternity clothes seeing as how my baby is *7* months old. I just don't want to buy clothes 2 sizes bigger than all my other clothes. Can I survive the summer with only elastic-y outfits? I get a headache just thinking about the swimwear that I'll need to buy. With that in mind I went for a walk today. I intended on it being a walk/run but my jogging stroller was so high up in the garage and I couldn't reach it. Perhaps another day. But I did a respectable 2 miles. And I'm exhausted.


Another Book of Us Layout. This is our Vital Stats page. I used some of things I saw on the AL Calendar from April 1st.


For me, it's all about food. Here's a LO all about our food prefs for our Book of Us album!


LO 5 The Story of Us - 5 Things We Love About Each Other

LO 4 The story of Us

LO 3 for the Story of Us - Favorite Books

Page 2 of the story of us. Didn't bother fixing the photo. I can always do it at another time when I figure out how to do it.


The Book of Us has begun.

I started the Book of Us. I'm using Michelle Underwood's Sweet on You Kit. I soooo need to get a different picture of me (I've used it 3 times and I have only been scrapping 2 months)! So this is just a place holder. I can't see how I'm going to do multiple pages without having more good pictures.

I have scanned some photos of us in that MC (isn't he just a cutie!) and I found the other day while finishing a picture frame collage for our living room but our faces are pretty washed out but the background is dark so I'm not sure how to best correct this photo. I'll need to do some homework in my PS7 book soon. Does anyone have any ideas to help us with our ghastly ghostly faces? The Levels trick doesn't solve the problem as it usually does. I always open the Levels box first (Ctrl-L) and move the sliders in to where the black graphs lines start for both the white and the black. That was the best thing I took away from the Photoshop class I took 6 eons (um, years) ago.