Thursday, November 6, 2014

Creative Memories Open!

Creative Memories is back!!!  

Hooray and Yippee!!

A NEW Owner, Caleb Hayhoe, has purchased the patents, the equipment and the CM name. He has brought back the traditional bookcloth coversets, photo-safe pages, and page protectors that I love! Also, assorted paper packs! Oh, joy!

I've seriously had a 20-year love affair with my Creative Memories albums and supplies. Unfortunately some mismanagement of the company stuff caused the joy to be sucked right out of it. For the first time in years (besides the brief launch of Ahni & Zoe) I feel hopeful again.

This verse kept coming to me the past week or two so I looked it up on Pinterest and found someone had put it to photo (I think photo credit goes to Darrell Creswell):

I mean all I ever wanted was to get my bookcloth albums, pages, and tape runner you know?  Everything else is frosting.  And I do love frosting!

Want to check it out?  You can visit my website link here:

The wait is over!

Happy Scrapping Days are Here Again!

I'm so excited! Are you?
What do you think of the website? 
I love how interactive it is.  You can flip through the designed page refills.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ways you can GIVE this Christmas

I goggled "organizing for Christmas" .....31 million results popped up in .41 seconds!

So...I'm not alone.

Last year I made a promise to get started on Christmas much earlier this year.
I'm proud that I remembered November 5th.

Our church is encouraging us to participate in an Advent Conspiracy:

Worship Fully

Spend Less

Give More

Love All

I'm reconciling this with promoting my Thirty-One Gifts business. Every time you shop with with a home-based business you can be sure that home is being blessed by your business. Plus Shopping is fun! Shopping helps our economy! We have cute stuff that actually helps you get organized and look cute doing it!

Yet, we can taper it down a LOT and we can end the relentless pushing of sales all season long.  Christmas is about so much more.

Many direct sales companies have programs in place that support local and national charities and organizations through the sales of their products. Not to mention the very family that has the home business. When families are strong, communities are strong. 

Here are just a few ways Thirty-One gives back:

.31 cents donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities with every purchase of a Cinch Sac in Red Wave

.31 cents donated to a non-profit organization dedicated to empower girls and women including their mission partner, GirlTalk

.31 cents donated to a non-profit each time someone adds a Gives Care Ribbon to one of their bags.

These are just a few examples. There are many, many more. So when you are shopping this holiday season not only spend less but look for products that give back. .31 cents may not seem like very much but Thirty-One has been able to give millions of dollars back. Millions! In fact, since 2012 Thirty-One has donated over $36 million in products and cash to non-profit organizations committed to women, girls and families through their Thirty-One Gives mission (Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, Today Show Toy Drive, Girl Scouts USA, American Heart Association and more)!

I've got my Christmas Organization Binder dusted off and ready to use this season.

But this year I will be sure to add:  

Worship Fully

Spend Less

Give More

Love All

Have you heard of the Advent Conspiracy?  What are your thoughts?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Skipping Halloween 2014

a Barbie, a Special Ops, a Tiger, and a Kitty

No trick or treating - except the special ops guy hit a few houses on our street sans the makeup. He was invited to a Birthday Costume Party earlier this month so I checked "Halloween" off my list thanks to that event! (thank you, thank you, thank you!) We also had a big rivalry football game on Halloween this year so again, thank you, thank you, thank you!

I just wasn't in the mood for Halloween. I have never been a fan but this year seemed especially gory with all the real-life gore happening. Maybe I should turn off the news.  

When Blondie and Jelly were little I never let them trick or treat. We didn't need to because there was always a school or church festival to attend with plenty of candy and dress up time. 

It wasn't until we moved into a neighborhood that attracts hundreds of trick or treaters that I let them join in the fun. And it was fun!

Thinking I would be "that mom" who passes out giant size candy bars and hears all the "wow! go to THAT house! they have full size chocolate!" (because that was a memory I have of that ONE house in the neighborhood where I grew up)

Instead I heard "Oh, my mom does that too."

"Can I have the Skittles instead?"

"Can I have two?"

and then they trade masks and come right back down the street again....

Our local elementary school puts on a Fall Festival which was always billed as an alternative to Halloween - a safe place to trick or treat. I have noticed the Fall festival has gotten gorier and gorier with the costumes. Then there was a request asking if some parents could build a haunted house for this year's Fall Festival -- I'm not sure if they ever did, but I was just Done at that point.

I have volunteered at this event for years and every year there are pleas for "we don't have enough candy." And every year I've volunteered I have noticed the majority of kids do not go through the festival in one loop, they stay 2-3 hours and go through the loop over and over and over...leaving with enough candy to last them an entire year. Which reminds me of birthday parties these days and how a lot of kids ask for 2 or 3 pieces of cake. What is up with that?? When I was a kid....

I know, bah humbug!

So this is where my 4th born gets jipped because I'm almost 50 years old and I am Done with this holiday. I asked him what his favorite candy is and told him I would get him a King Size bar of that and call it good!  He didn't seem to care too much but I did take him to a few houses on our street and it was really awkward because he didn't even have his face makeup on. Just a camo shirt, shorts and tennis shoes (and someone even said "I like your costume!" bless her!). Oh My Gosh what is happening to me? I have such good kids that sometimes I take advantage of how obedient they are.

Before you think I'm a selfish, boring momma, I did let Jelly host a pre-game party with 10 of her classmates. They came over for pizza, rootbeer, hot cider and a candy bar. Now that was fun! For me. I ate my way through that party in bite-size Twix. Having a football game on Halloween was a great excuse for me to turn off the lights early and call it a night. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mix and Match patterns with Thirty-One

I thought this was appropriate for #ThrowBackThursday - my Large Utility Tote pictured on the left is one of my very first Thirty-One bags! It came in my Starter Kit back in 2011 when I became a Consultant!  

Thirty-One Gifts changes their patterns with the seasons, retiring and updating patterns. But what I love is how the patterns always seem to coordinate so I am never "stuck" with a retired pattern that won't match anything.

The bag on the right is my new Essentials Storage Tote in Navy Lotsa Dots (from Fall 2014). I love how these 2 totes look so great together even though they were purchased 3 years apart!  These are my "shopping buddies" that go to Costco with me.

Another benefit is I love seeing these bright pretty colors when I open my trunk during the rainy Northwest days of Fall and Winter. They make me happy! 

If you have Thirty-One totes, what patterns have you mixed and matched from different seasons?  You can post a photo on my Facebook page, I would love to see how you are coordinating yours! 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

back to school 2014

After an amazing summer of unusually warm temps the mornings start to turn cool and it's time to go back to school.  18 years with Blondie and she will not be joining her siblings in the annual Back to School front door photo session....she gets to sleep in and start College later this month!  So my nest is 1/4 less full.......

Our Jelly in the Middle started 11th grade this fall. She gets her own room and her own car this school year as Blondie moves on to college and will not be featured in our annual Back to School photos!!  Jelly is happy she can get herself to school on time this year and not have to rely on big sister to drive her. This is a big year for Jelly as she now takes the "top spot" as the oldest sister living at home. 

Sugar is in the middle of Middle School this year. In my opinion, the ickiest of school years. She gets to move into Blondie's room while Blondie is away at college. I think this is a good year for her to have her own space. 

 And last, but certainly not least, is our Mr. Mr. (who no longer wants to be called the Prince). I love his puppy dog feet in these photos! No doubt he has quite a bit more growing to do and I do predict he will be the tallest of our 4 kids. We are blessed to have boys in our neighborhood that he plays with frequently although he does love his sisters too. 

I have 4 kids in 4 different schools this Fall....but 3 kids living at home and each will have their own room. New season....always a new season....looking forward to what this one will bring. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

peanut allergy and peanut challenge

My "Jelly in the Middle" daughter has been allergic to peanuts her whole life. We are hoping she will outgrow this someday. We discovered this "allergy" when she was a toddler. Her face would get a red rash whenever she ate a peanut butter granola bar and within a half hour she would get sick. 

Her pediatrician referred us to an allergist as this could be life threatening. She tested positive for severe peanut allergy and we were told she could suffer anaphylaxis (throat swelling, difficulty breathing) with exposure to even a minute amount of peanut, peanut flour or peanut oil. From then on we made sure she had an Epi-pen (shot of epinephrine) in our car, my purse, her school, church and home.

A small child uses the EpiPen Junior, then as she gets older moves up to the regular EpiPen

We soon discovered EpiPens only had a 6-month shelf life (this was 14 years ago). We would need to replace the EpiPens in our car, my purse, her school, church and home every 6 months even though she had never shown any signs of anaphylaxis. We had to stock the EpiPens "just in case" because "she could die."

Skeptical me: ...hmmmm....really? I don't remember kids being allergic to peanuts when I was growing up and now suddenly every other kid has some type of allergy? And you want me to pay $25 for a two-pack of medicine (I'll need 2 or 3 two-packs) that only lasts 6 months, 'just in case', and need to be stocked in multiple locations, then thrown-away and repurchased Every 6 Months? Is this some sort of conspiracy?

Mommy me:  ...well, ok then, I can't Not stock them because "what if" something happens? I can't let my kid Die.

Taking her to Restaurants and sending her to School, Field Trips and Birthday Parties suddenly terrified me.

I became "that" mom who would call ahead:

"Are your fries and chicken strips made with peanut oil?"  
"Do your chips contain peanut oil?"  

"Do you have a peanut-free table in the lunch room?"

"What type of ice cream are you serving? Does it contain peanut oil?"
"Are you serving cake? What store did you purchase it from or if you made it which brand mix did you use?"

"Are you serving candy? Will the kids be washing their hands after they eat the Snickers?"

Not. Fun.

Jelly did a great job of avoiding peanuts. She obviously didn't want to die and her mom made sure that she knew that was a possibility. (Yes, she will need therapy, won't we all at some point?)

So this sweet girl coped with very little exposure and no life-threatening emergencies.
Even recently when she accidentally ingested peanut by taking a bite of a peanut M&M before realizing what it was.  

Yes, that happened.  

She quickly spit it out and brushed her teeth. We were on vacation and I remember giving her Benadryl and just watching her for the next hour praying I wouldn't have to use the EpiPen. Nothing happened except an itchy mouth.

Then more recently she had another accidental ingestion and again, just an itchy mouth, no sickness and no swelling. So off to the allergist we go to see if she has maybe outgrown this allergy?

Nope. Her skin test tested positive again but our allergist said the fact that she accidentally bit into peanut two times and didn't have a reaction is more conclusive than the skin test. So this summer we started her on a Peanut Challenge.

After years of conditioning to Avoid Peanuts At All Costs she was now being asked to put peanut flour in her mouth, then a tiny piece of mashed up peanut, progressively larger amounts throughout the day, all in the care of the allergist's office. This is the new thing! If she was 3 years old today, they would not tell her to avoid peanuts at all costs. They would get her on a peanut challenge and expose her a little bit each day to peanuts! My, how times change.

During the challenge her face got a red rash and her mouth got very itchy but no swelling. She progressed through the first challenge well. We were sent home with a "prescription" of peanut M&Ms (if I could only be so lucky!) and she was to eat one in the morning and one at night. 

We went on a summer vacation trip to a warm resort where we were going to bike, hike and swim every day so the doctor told us to cut her dose down to one peanut M&M per night because the hotter you are and the more exercise you do, the quicker the peanut travels in her blood stream and some kids get more of a reaction after exercising.  We gave her just one peanut M&M per night and each night she had horrible stomach aches until the third night she got sick. I called the allergist and he told us we were probably going too fast and we need to cut back to 1/4 of an M&M, could I do that? Cut a peanut M&M into quarters?

Sure, I can do that. As long as I get to eat the other 3/4 each night (which I did).

So far so good. Stomach aches are getting better but she does have a watery mouth and feels very nauseous. She hates peanuts and wants to quit this whole process. But if we quit now, she could have a worse reaction down the road. After years of avoidance, we now have to keep her exposed daily. This is her current "prescription" - tiny pieces of peanut sitting in our fridge:

When she finishes this prescription we will head back to the allergist office for Peanut Challenge #2. To be continued....

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

my girls never did that - normal elbow xray

so this happened.
a few days before the First Day of School....
wearing worn out flip flops
running down very steep driveway

stunned silence
from both mother and child

mother's he ok? is he ok? is he ok? 

child lungs gearing up for that 
one biG  

Oh! he's not ok!

Triage mode
bloody toes
both feet
both ankles 
both knees
one hip
one arm

Where does it hurt?


More Ice
Comfy Couch

Concussion watch
I hope that arm's not broken 

Nah, it couldn't be broken...
he stopped crying.
He does not want ANYONE 
or ANYTHING to touch his arm.
But it's not broken.
He's not crying.
After about a week of him being fine except the whole Do Not Touch My Arm thing, I brought him in to the pediatrician. His wonderful, experienced pediatrician retired recently so we booked an appointment with the 'next available.'  The first thing the nurse did was grab his arm and take his blood pressure - yes, that arm.  And I sat there all mute like I'm not a helicopter mom, go ahead and torture him, you know best.  

This was exactly when I should have said something because she seemed surprised by his wincing. Ohhhh, I'm sooo sorry, let's try the other arm, no wonder your blood pressure seemed a bit high!

Then Dr New-Young-Expert-on-all-things-Kid took a look and suggested an x-ray since he shouldn't still be in pain after a week.  

"Hmmm...he has a fractured elbow. See that piece right there on his elbow has completely sheared off" - 

Is it going to float around his body?

"No, the tissue is holding it in place right now but he might have to have surgery to put a pin in there. I'm so sorry. Let's put him in a sling and I want you to see an orthopedic doctor asap."

That's so strange...all his pain is in his arm and wrist not his elbow"

"The elbow affects the whole arm"

My girls never did that.
*Boys* do this all the time. No biggie....right?

but surgery?
a pin?

He doesn't even have a Really Cool Story.
it was just 
the driveway
and flip flops

The next day I received a voice mail "Just wanted you to know the the radiologist looked at the xray and it's Normal. Have a good day."

Commence Helicopter Mode
No, not the receptionist,
not the advice nurse,
I would like to speak to the doctor please.
Oh, she's left for the day?
Let me leave a message.

Less than 5 minutes later I receive a call from the doctor.
This is where I do not want to seem like I'm complaining because the Very Best Thing in the World is when a Doctor is wrong about bad news!!!  I mean, this is a Miracle. A Christmas Miracle.
In September.
A Back to School Miracle.

So please remember to get second opinions. 
Doctors obviously don't know everything. No matter how much authority they assert when using words like "surgery" "pin" and "fracture."  And maybe they should not evaluate xrays if they don't know what they are talking about.  I would have been fine with her saying, "the radiologist will evaluate these tomorrow, we'll let you know."

Trust that small voice in your head. Mine was saying, This does not make sense...if his elbow is fractured, why is all the pain in his forearm and wrist??

She suggested he continue wearing the sling and keep our appointment with the orthopedic doctor. 

The next day we waited over an hour in the waiting room before the orthopedic doctor called us in to look at the x-rays of a Normal Elbow. "That is not a floating piece of elbow bone, that is little boy cartilage that will harden into bone as he grows and matures. He has a painful bone bruise down his forearm and wrist. He does not need a sling. He needs to go outside and play. He'll bounce back soon" says Dr. Xray-Expert-Who-Is-Sorry-Not-Sorry-We-Waited-an-Hour-for-something-we-already-knew.

Who is smiling in all of this? 
The ones who are getting paid?