Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The big event approaches...

So, the magic convention that Mark is talent chairman for is finally almost here. After a year and a half of planning and organizing, several extended "discussions" with the other committee members to get them to see his vision of how things could be, contracts and schedules, advertising and program design, and gazillions of emails and phone calls, it all comes down to this weekend. I did get roped into helping him with a little bit of it, but he's worked so hard on this. I really hope it all goes smoothly.

He'll be down at the hotel all weekend. My folks arrive tomorrow, and my dad and I are going to take Matthew down to the evening shows while Kaylee and my mom stay at the house for some girl time. Kaylee was very upset that she's not old enough to go, but I'm sure she'll have fun with my mom, and I've bought her some special presents for each night to help make up for her not getting to go.

My folks will be staying for about a week and a half, so I may be a bit more MIA than usual while they're here. Right now I'm just trying to get the house ready in among all the usual errands and schoolwork and designing and such. And since I still don't have a maid or magical powers, that means I have to go scrub the guest bath now. :-b

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Little things make me happy. :-)

As Kaylee and I were walking back to the house this morning after putting Matthew on the bus, a semi pulled up on the adjacent street. Very odd, since we're in a very twisty residential neighborhood, and normally the only semis we see are occasional moving vans. Then the semi turned onto our street and parked across from our house. It was at that point that I noticed the top of the semi's trailer was covered by a black tarp instead of the normal solid roof. I had a suspicion but dared not get my hopes up.

When I left to take Kaylee to school, the semi had moved forward and there were orange cones lining the street. I dropped Kaylee off at school, then went to do a bit of grocery shopping. When I got home, where the semi had been was a mountain of bark mulch! Woo hoo!

Why am I so excited about mulch? Across the street from our house is a park with two small playground areas set into pits, which are supposed to be filled with mulch. All summer long, those pits have been pretty well empty, with just barely a layer of dirty mulch, and lots of exposed uneven layers of rubber mats. The few times we got over there, kids were always tripping over the mats and would get just filthy if they got down on the ground. Not to mention that the drop from the bottom of the equipment and sidewalks was a good nine inches more than it should have been. I kept meaning to call the city to see when it was going to be filled in, but somehow always got sidetracked.

Right at this very moment there is a crew of guys working away with bulldozers and bobcats and rakes to move Mulch Mountain into the playgrounds!! We're going to have safe, clean playgrounds again! Now hopefully, the weather will cool off soon so that we can actually use them without melting! :D

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A little Matthew story: The other night when I did Matthew's bedtime stories, he chose "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". We've read this book lots of times, but this time he asked me about why the Grinch took all the Whos' stuff, so I explained that the Grinch had thought he could take away the Whos' happiness by taking all their stuff, but they were still happy because they didn't need things to be happy. His response? Very seriously, "If someone took my X-Box, I would totally get them." ROTFL So much for life lessons from Dr. Seuss. :-b

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Not nearly weird enough. ;-)

I've been tagged by Gina!

List 5 weird things about yourself or your pets. Tag 5 friends and list them. Then, those people need to write on their blogs about 5 weird things, and state the rules, and tag 5 more people. Don't forget to let the people you tag know by posting a comment on their blog!

We don't have any pets, and I'm having a really hard time thinking of weird things about myself.  I mean, I'm completely normal; it's everyone else who's weird. Right? ;)

  1. I enjoy doing math puzzles and find them very relaxing.

  2. I am detail-obsessed and have to have everything "just so" when it comes to things like computer files, yet it doesn't bother nearly as much that my house is often a sea of clutter and chaos.

  3. I hate things that are perfumed and would much prefer to use unscented everything.  It bugs the heck out of me that the store doesn't carry my unscented fabric softener in the economy sizes, so every once in a while, I give in and buy the smelly ones and then go around feeling like I need to sneeze all the time.

  4. I do things that require strength, such as sports (ha!), with my right hand, but things that require precision, such as writing or needlework, with my left hand.  Except for using a mouse.  I do that right-handed, since there were no left-handed mice available where I first learned to use one.

  5. I sleep with enough pillows that I'm more or less sitting up.  If I'm in a situation where I actually have to lie down flat, I feel slightly panicky.

Hmmmm, such a decision to try to decide who to tag.  There are so many people who I'd like to put through this little soul-searching exercise to see what they come up with! LOL  I will tag Jane, Fransie, Nat, Rachel, and Karin.  :-)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Happy Anniversary! Kit stuff! :-)

Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!!! (Yep, they read – keeps me in line. ;) ) I am horrible with dates, and am not positive, but I think this makes 40 years! Congrats! I love you!! Can't wait to see you. :)

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They're finished! Yep, those element sets are done and in the store! Just under three weeks, start to finish! It's a new record for me! ROTFL!

So, do you wanna see 'em? Here they are…




I'm really happy with the way they turned out, especially after I came "this close" to ditching the entire thing after I decided I needed to start over on the alpha when I got to about Y on the first go 'round! LOL I think they're tons of fun. So I put 'em up today separately and as a bundle and put them on sale 25% off through Labor Day. Now I just gotta figure out how to run some ads, since I never got around to that when my kit came out! :-b

Here's the link to the bundle, and then there are links within the description for the individual sets if you wanna take a closer look at any of 'em.

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What else is new? Let's see. Had the info meeting thing at Kaylee's school Thursday night. Hung around and talked to her teacher a bit and think I got past that whole stalker thing. ;-) Also had a nice chat with the mom of one of the girls in Kaylee's class. She's new to all this stuff and said I really looked like I knew what I was doing. Wow, guess I'm a professional mom of school-age kids now. LOL

The weekend zipped right by. Mark had his gaming friends over yesterday. We just hung out today, and I did three or four loads of laundry. Woo hoo. :-) I spent pretty much all morning getting the stuff posted to the store, since I'm still learning my way around Zen Cart. One of these days I'll have enough practice that I won't have to keep referring back to my notes for every little step. Of course, I probably have to put something up more often than once every couple of months for that to happen. :-b

My Sarah's Cottage kit is being given out as the prize for this month's Scrapper's Spotlight challenge, so go scraplift one of Lourdes' fabulous layouts and get a fun little kit out of it too. :-)

I also actually did get my prize for next month done too the other day when I needed a break from the cord craziness. It was inspired by my neighbor's mailbox. Well, actually not their mailbox, but what they have planted around it – a ginormous cactus. I think it's a prickly pear. I'm sure the mailman just looooves that. :-b Well, anyway, it's actually kind of an ugly plant most of the time, but a few weeks out of the year it gets these gorgeous waxy yellow and orange flowers on it, so last time it bloomed, I went out and stood in the street and took pictures. And so from that I give you…




Darn Photoshop actually crashed on me while I was creating that bottom paper, so I had to start over on it, and of course, it looks very little like the original version. One of these days I'll learn to save more often! I'd gotten spoiled by how stable PS has been for me.

Alrighty, my Outlook reminder giving me my 15-minute warning to go to bed just popped up, so I guess I'll get this posted and call it a night! :-)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Clearance sale, layouts, and news.

{booming announcer voice} ScrapDish is having their first ever Clearance Sale! 200 items dirt-cheap! Includes Day-Old-Donuts, which help fund RAKScraps, as well as regular designer items! Sale ends Labor Day and then those kits will be gone, gone, GONE! Run over there now while the savings are hot!! {end booming announcer voice}

LOL Seriously, I put all 13 of the Day Old Donut kits below in the sale at 60-65% off, and they'll be gone after September 4th, so if you ever wanted 'em, now is the time! :-)



In other news, the RAKScraps August newsletter, which is totally awesome as always, came out last night, so I can now post my Mega Kit contribution...



...as well as my remaining sponsor layouts:







See my gallery at RAKScraps for journaling and credits. :-)

These will be my last sponsor layouts. I made a very difficult decision and stepped down from the sponsor team. I'd been thinking about it for quite a while. I really loved working with the sponsors. It was so cool to get exposed to so many different designers, and, hey, you can't beat free kits, right? But I have always been, and always will be, an incredibly slow scrapper, so these were taking up a ton of my time, and I decided I wanted to divert that time to designing for a while. Hopefully, I'll still find time to do a layout just for fun now and then, but I imagine my scrapping will be pretty minimal for a while… like maybe 'til Kaylee starts kindergarten next year. LOL

I'm sure there are other things I wanted to blog about, but they escape me at the moment, and it's almost time to go meet Matthew's bus, so I guess that's it for today!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Still hot. School update. Jeanine's birthday sale.

I think I need to just make up a new blog template that starts every post with "It's so stinkin' hot today." :-b



How sad is it that the days that don’t break 100°F look "cool". Too bad they don't feel cool when you're out in it! I think it makes it worse that with the kids being in school, it just seems like we should get to have fall weather, even though fall is still technically a long way off, and usually doesn't really hit here until around Halloween anyway. Let's just hope those thunderstorms actually happen. Everything is soooo dry. And I've heard that the lake where we get our water is incredibly low. We've been on "Stage 3 Drought Restrictions" since early June, with no end in sight.

Anyway, Matthew's "meet the teacher" went fine. His regular teacher just had a baby and still has five weeks of maternity leave left, so he'll have a sub until then, but they were both there for that. The kids have two whole days of school under their belts now and are on their third. Matthew came home yesterday complaining. "We had to do so much more work than the first day!!!!" He went on and on and on about all the stuff they had to do. Oh, the torture of being a second-grader. ;-)

Kaylee had great days at school. She was all smiles and excited when I picked her up. Yesterday we needed to stop for gas on the way home. I stopped at a pump that was in the shade and put down my window so that it wouldn't get too hot in there for her while I was pumping (we have pay at the pump). When I got back in, she asked if she could have her window down, so I put it down for her while I was getting situated. When I got ready to pull out and drive the four blocks back to house, I asked her if she wanted it up. No. Okay, well just let me know if you want it up. We pull out of the shade and she immediately starts panicked screaming for me to put it up because it's too bright (we have tinted windows), so I do. Then five seconds later she changes her mind and wants it back down. I tell her I'm not putting it back down, since she just told me she wanted it up, and this is a precedent I don't want to set. No way am I going to be putting her window up and down every five seconds every time we drive anywhere. She continues yelling/screaming/sobbing to put the window down. We get to the house and she's still freaking out and doesn't want to get out and go in the house. It's 90-something degrees out. No way am I going to stand in the garage and argue with her, so I calmly drag her out of the SUV, and we go in the house, where she continues her fit. I tried to get her to calm down, but when she gets like this anything I say to her just makes her madder, so I finally just had to walk away and go about my business while she followed me around sobbing until she finally calmed herself down. I swear this girl is going to be the end of my sanity. :-b

In other news, yesterday was Jeanine's birthday!! Jeanine is the owner of both RAKScraps and ScrapDish and is just an awesome person and a total sweetheart!! She juggles a load that makes my life look like a day at the beach and constantly amazes me with all that she manages to do. (And she's so incredibly modest that she would hate it that I said that!) Here's the card I made for her to post at RAKScraps.



I found the quote on ThinkExist and just thought it was too perfect, since Jeanine is always such an uplifting friend. :D The kit is Jeanine's awesome "Essence" at ComputerScrapbook.com. And it's on sale! Go grab it right now! In fact, all of her stuff is on sale at SBB and ScrapDish too and there's a coupon for even more savings! Check out the sale info on her blog!

I've been working a lot on the elements sets (yep, decided to go that route with this instead of a kit), and have them partly done. I just need to go back and redo the first part now that I've figured out how I want to do it! It's all taking way longer than I originally anticipated, and I'll probably wind up making about 2¢ per hour on it, but I refuse to give up on it now! LOL

Alrighty. I have a little bit of business to take care of before I run off to pick Miss Thing up from school. Wish us a tantrum-free day! :-)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Meet the teacher

Ugh. So hot out.

We went to Kaylee's school this morning to pick up all the paperwork, see her classroom, and meet her teacher.  The teacher seems nice, as does her aide, although the aide had a pretty thick accent, so I had a little trouble understanding her.  Matthew was very cute, enthusiastically showing Kaylee all around the room.  I was glancing over the names on the info list for Kaylee's class to see how they matched up with the locker arrangement (Kaylee's class is in the morning, and there's another class in that room in the afternoon), and just get a general idea of what the names were, since last year there were a lot of very unusual names in Kaylee's class and with the way she would pronounce them, I would have no idea what she was saying.  So then the teacher casually walks over and picks up the list and carries it around with her.  Uhm, great.  Kaylee's teacher's first impression of me is that I'm either just very nosy or a stalker. :-p

Anyway, when it was time to go, Kaylee did not want to leave, and got very cranky, screeching at Matthew if he tried to talk to her or hold her hand while we were walking in the parking lot or basically even breathe in her direction.  So much fun.  Not.  

Our next stop was the library to turn in the kids' summer reading logs so they could pick out a free paperback book.  Kaylee's crankiness continued.

Next was a quick stop at the store to pick up some prescriptions and hamburger.  Miss cranky part three.  

Such a fun morning.

Did I mention it was hot out?  We've been home for over an hour and I still have a headache from the heat.  Blech.  And we have to go back out in it for the classroom thing at Matthew's school in a couple of hours.  Double-blech.

And tomorrow school starts back up for real.  And we're going to have to be up at 6a.m.  I think it's going to be harder on me than it is on them.  Especially since I've been staying up really late to try to get stuff done after they're in bed.  I've gone to bed a bit earlier the last couple of nights, but it's been taking me forever to fall asleep, so I'm not really getting much more sleep.

Hopefully, Matthew's school thing will go better, and Kaylee will be out of this little mood.  (Note to self: avoid any behavior that could be construed as stalker-ish. :-b)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Good morning. :) Digital decluttering and such.

Stretched out in bed, mentally awake, but still physically asleep.  The bright sunlight streaming in the windows, washing over me.  The sounds of the kids playing quietly together in the next room, punctuated by rolling waves of preschool girl giggles.  Savoring these moments, knowing that the days of getting up before dawn and the hustle and bustle of getting the kids off to school are just around the corner.  The perfect late summer morning.

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I took a break from working on the kit the last day and a half.  I was enjoying it even though tedious, but then the tediousness took over.  Especially since I'm going to redo part of it, since I wasn't happy with the way it came out.  :-b  Anyway, I had an overwhelming attack of needing to tackle some of my digital clutter, specifically the "links" bar in IE and my email inbox.  I have this habit of just tossing things onto my links bar that I want to come back and look at later and then either never coming back, or deciding to keep the link but not organizing it into the proper category in my favorites so that I can find it later.  It had gotten to the point where I was having to scroll down ridiculously far in the links to get to the little widgets that I use all the time that do need to be there.  So I spent Thursday evening going through all those and getting them down to a manageable level.  Still needs a little work, and the favorites categories could use a major sort and purge, but that can wait.

While I was at it, I went through and trimmed down my Yahoo group list a bit and began changing my email address for those.  I'm gradually switching all my emails over to one from my own domain. After being stable for the longest time, our ISP has been bought or merged of something yet again.  I think this is the third time since we had them.  It started out as @home.com, then went to something like attbi.com, and then to comcast.net, and now is going to be something like roadrunner something or other since it's under Time-Warner now. Of course, they can't leave well enough alone and just let everyone keep their same email addresses.  So, anyway, since I'm planning to keep my kimetc domain for the long haul, I'm switching everything over to that, but yikes there's a lot to switch, so it's going to take some time.  

So then yesterday, I spent practically alllllll day working on getting my inbox sorted out.  There were, of course, breaks for the necessities, like Matthew reading five or six short books to me, or having Kaylee do my "fashions".  I look just stunning in a fluffy sparkly pink scarf and bejeweled gold plastic crown with pretend lipstick and nail polish, by the way. ;-)  Anyway, I started out with around 600 emails in my inbox I think, and finally, by around midnight, I managed to whittle it down a mere 15 messages that were either currently relevant or that I needed to do a bit more investigation on before I decide what to do with them.  This doesn't include some other folders I have that have stuff automatically filtered into them, but the inbox is where I need to hunt for stuff and can never find what I need, so this is going to make that so much easier.

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I'm back.  Did you miss me?  I had to take a break from writing to mend Cinderella's wedding dress, the overskirt of which had torn at the waist across about a third of the width of the gown. Good thing it's just a costume and doesn't need to be perfect and it doesn't matter that that layer of the skirt is an inch or two shorter on that side now. LOL  I'm so proud of myself for just jumping on that and getting it done.  Normally when something of the kids' needs mending, it sits in my closet until they've outgrown it.  But she's been wearing this gown almost every day lately, and when she put it on this morning and I saw that huge gap, I knew I needed to do it before it got worse.  So Kaylee very impatiently waited while I took the 20 or 30 minutes to fix it, then decided she didn't feel like wearing it right now. :-b

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So Bloglines was totally screwy yesterday.  It's been missing some feeds and such anyway, but then yesterday, it was showing new feed indicators, but wasn't displaying the posts, so I'd have to click over to look at them directly.  It said in the Bloglines news that it was messed up because the servers were catching up after a security patch.  I hope it's better now.  So annoying.  I've gotten so totally dependent on it to make sure I don’t miss anything on the 103 (and growing) feeds I subscribe to. :-b

Ok, time to get going with my day!  Happy weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A whole week?

Bad blogger. Let's see… what have we been doing for the past week?

There were a couple of more mornings at the park. The kids had fun playing with the assorted kids who were there from day to day. Gets a little hot and boring for me, but that's the way it goes I guess. Took the kids on a longer bike ride (with me walking along with Kaylee) to the back of the park. Kaylee did not like the speed she picked up going down the gentle inclines, so I had to hold onto the bike and slow her down when we got to those parts.

There was also a day of running errands, the highlights of which were a visit to the library for another full load of books for the kids, and a stop at Target for new backpacks for the kids. Matthew got a navy blue one with skater-related "graffiti" on it. That one was his first choice, then he tried to change his mind several times, but all of the others had functional problems such as design which made it darn near impossible to open some of the zippers, so he ended up with door number one. Kaylee picked out a Strawberry Shortcake one, which she chose based solely on the sparkly play pom-poms that came with it. She's been using them a lot and is very cute doing her "cheers" which mainly consist of counting loudly and slowly while striking different poses. LOL

While we were out, I also picked up Elsie Flannigan's "52 Scrapbooking Challenges" at our local scrapbook store. I haven't had too much of a chance to look at it yet, but what I did see seemed pretty cool. I also have Cathy Z's first book on its way from Amazon. Should be here on Thursday. My hunt for Ali Edwards' first book turned up empty tough, and the places online that were supposed to get it back in haven't. Marked checked some other local stores, and looked on eBay for me, but then found a good deal at an out-of-print book dealer he's worked with before, so it's ordered and is hopefully on its way! Woo hoo! Major brownie points for Mark. :) Next time a really great book comes out, someone slap me upside the head and tell me to order it right away before it goes out of print! LOL

Over the past few days, I also finished up my August Mega Kit contribution and all my August sponsor layouts and reviews, nearly two weeks ahead of schedule! Go me! Here are the ones I can show you now:


Credits: Kit is "Bloomn' Fun" by Lynnie Smith available at DaisieCompany, partially recolored. Hand Stamped Alpha by Michelle Coleman at Scrap Artist. Inked edge action by Atomic Cupcake. Stitches by me. Font: Angelina.


Journaling: "One day, after their bath, Matthew asked if he and Kaylee could lay on the kitchen table. I jokingly said they could, but only if they would let me take their picture. I was sure Matthew would say no, since he’s usually very conscious of not looking silly when I take his picture these days. To my surprise, they both climbed right up there and demanded that I take picture after picture while they clowned around. They decided it would be especially fun for me to take pictures of them with their eyes closed. 6-2-06"
Credits: Kit is "Soldier Boy Combo Kit" by Elizabeth Lane, available at Scrap Outside The Box, partially recolored. Staple by me. Fonts: Susie's Hand, LD Remington Portable.


Journaling: Here is one who likes to run. She runs for fun in the hot, hot sun. - adapted from Dr. Suess’ “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”
Credits: Kit: "Sweet Summer Cocktail" by Ginger Thibodeau at Scrapbook-Elements. Hand Stamped Alpha by Michelle Coleman at Scrap Artist. Inked edge action by Atomic Cupcake. Stitching by Shabby Princess and Mo Jackson. Fonts: Downcome, Susie's Hand, LD Remington Portable.

The last one is my favorite. I just love how the photo came out when I played with it, and I think the look carried over to the rest of the layout really well. :)

The reason I cranked through and got that stuff done early, was so that I could have time to work on something new to sell, so I got started on that yesterday. I'm having a lot of fun with it, even though what I'm doing is rather tedious. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to turn it into a full kit, or if it's just going to be elements. The inspiration came from something I was wearing that I was very annoyed with. Are you curious yet? :-b

Last night was my TOPS meeting. They were painting the church where we meet and had all the doors and windows closed, so the fumes were horrid! So we just had a weigh-in and cancelled the meeting part, which meant I got an early start on my grocery shopping and was able to get back home early to work more on my designing! I did have an incident at the grocery store. I had picked up a small jar of crushed garlic. It slipped between the bars of the cart and crashed to the floor, breaking off the bottom. There weren't any employees around to help, so I just picked up the jar and pieces of glass (most of the garlic stayed in the jar) and put it in the nearest trash. I didn't think I got too much on my hands, but as I was standing in line to check out, the smell started getting stronger. I reeked! I can only imagine what the checker and the guy in front of me in line must have been thinking. When I got out to the car, I used some wipes to get as much off as I could, then washed my hands about four times when I got home, but the smell just wouldn't go away. So I looked online and found something that said to rub your hands on a stainless steel utensil under cold running water. Mark looked at me like I was insane, but I figured it couldn't hurt, so I grabbed a big serving spoon and gave it a try. It worked! Took all the smell right out! So there's your handy odd tip for the day. :)

Even though I didn't have time to do another layout right now, I decided that I just could not pass up the huge kit Scrap Artist is giving out as a participation prize for their anniversary challenges, so I did this one this morning. It's for the belly-flop challenge – scrapping bad pics. Every single one of the pics I took of the kids riding these go-carts came out blurry, and I was on the fence about whether I was going to scrap them at all, so they seemed like the perfect choice. I realize the layout is tiny here. You can see it slightly bigger at Scrap Artist. Go here, and then click on the image to see it bigger.


Journaling: You kids were so excited to go on your very first go-cart rides at the 4th of July cookout at Daddy’s Aunt Bev’s place. There were tons of kids there, all of whom were experienced daredevils, but they took it easy on you, and you both had a blast - even if it made Mommy very nervous to watch you.
Credits: Kit is Rough N Tumble by Eve Recinella. Tire-track overlays by Kim Jensen (me) from August Mini-Kit in ScrapDish Day Old Donuts. Hand Stamped Alpha by Michelle Coleman at Scrap Artist. Fonts: Downcome, j.d., LD Remington Portable, Hootie!

Ok, I need to get some stuff done around the house and work some more on my "kit" and entertain the kids a bit. Later… :)