Friday, August 30, 2013

Love Is Free Sketch & Digital Template Freebie

I'm still pulling freebies that I've created from all over the web so I can link them in one place on my blog. This is an older sketch and digital template, but it may be new to you! Feel free to save or pin the sketch if you're a paper scrapbooker. The digital template download link is at the bottom of this post. 

Sketch_Free Digital Template_Download
This is the example page that I made way back in the day. I used Cosmo Cricket's Earth Love collection to scrap about Jordan's first day off of her oxygen. She was above and beyond happy to finally be free from all of her tubes!

Special Needs_Cerebral Palsy_Scrapbook Page

You can download your free digital scrapbook template HERE. Please respect my terms of use. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Eskimo Kisses: Father Christmas Update

I've managed to get two more Christmas scrapbook pages completed! Of course, I'm still working on my Father Christmas project. (It feels like I've been working on it forever.) This week I used Basic Grey's Eskimo Kisses paper and embellishments as my main source of supplies. I also pulled a few random embellishments from my stash to make everything work together.

This first layout features photos of Jordan on Christmas morning. She was so excited to finally be old enough to have an American Girl doll. We bought her Molly, her dog, a few outfits, and a wheelchair so Molly could be just like Jordan. I can't tell you how awesome I think American Girl is for offering that option!

I kept my design really simple on this project to focus on the pictures because they are such an important memory for me. I feel like using a grid with a minimal amount of supporting embellishments works well when I want to focus on telling an important story.

American Girl_Christmas Scrapbook Page
My second page includes photos from a Christmas celebration at Ronnie's parents' house. The kids were opening their presents, and I thought it would be sweet to journal about what they received so they could remember years from now. We all had a wonderful time together!

Family_Christmas Celebration_Scrapbook Layout

This project started as a take on a PageMaps sketch, but I went off on a tangent when I realized that I didn't have piece of paper big enough for one of the required layers.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Little Dirt Never Hurts: Weekly Photo Update

We made it through our second week of homeschooling without any huge issues. I think the crazy amount of time that I spend preparing for each day really makes a difference. Even on the days that we have therapy appointments, we make it work! Sometimes we don't finish until Alexis gets home, but we get through everything. 

The kids had a bit of cabin fever on Monday, so I let them eat lunch outside. They were both pretty thrilled with the idea and it helped them wake up a little. Brandon kept yawning all morning, and I was sure he was going to fall asleep at the table.

Alexis is doing really well in school. She's bringing home A's and B's, and we're so impressed! She's been working hard on her homework as well. She gets really frustrated because her homework takes her at least an hour each night. She's realized that Brandon and Jordan don't have any homework and she doesn't think it's fair. She still wants to go to public school because her friends are there. I don't get it, but I respect her choice.

I got in so much trouble Tuesday afternoon! It started raining without any lightning and the kids were bored, so I let them go outside to play in it. Unfortunately, it quit raining about two minutes after they went out. 

Luckily, Brandon found a different activity... He discovered a mud puddle. Brandon decided that the puddle wasn't deep enough, so he started digging a deeper hole. The kids made mud soup and sailed their sailboats across the muddy swamp to the evil castle. It was pretty awesome until Ronnie got mad at me for letting the kids dig a hole in the yard. I told him that we were studying the water cycle and called it homeschool. Ha! 

Thursday found us back at therapy. Miss J put her braces on her feet all by herself that morning! I was pretty proud of my girl. Her outfit in this photo cracks me up. She chose pink basketball shorts, cheetah print socks, and a sporty t-shirt. She also asked for pigtails before she declared the outfit complete.

My girls participate in a book club at the Abita Library and we got the books on our way home from therapy. Jordan's first idea was to find a comfy spot so she could start reading! 

Our entire family went to Jordan's hippotherapy session on Saturday because it's been a while since I watched her ride. (Ronnie's been helping me by bringing her so I can get the house clean in the morning.) We bought an industrial size bag of carrots so the kids could feed all of the New Heights horses. They had such a great time!

We went home for lunch before heading out again. I had to bring Jordan to buy some new glasses because her old ones were crooked and the screws kept coming loose. She decided that she had to have red glasses so she could be a cover girl. I'm not sure what she meant, but she was really insistent about it! We found some really cute frames that make her eyes pop. My girl was super happy and she asked me to take a photo so we could show her Daddy what she picked.

We are studying the United States next week in homeschool. Everyone is looking forward to cooking for our weekly country assignment. This week it'll be cheeseburgers and apple pie. I'm sure I'll have a lot of help!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Snowy Photo Overlay: Digi Freebie

In the midst of the homeschool craziness around here, I've been deleting old files and cleaning my computer. I recently came across another freebie that I haven't posted here yet. I made a set of four snowy photo overlays to give away a while back. These are in .png format and you just drop them onto a layer above your picture. I've added a few examples here on my blog so you can see what they will add to your photos. 


Overlay One

Overlay Two

There are two extra overlays in the pack, so you have more options! Download your snowy photo overlay freebie by clicking HERE. Don't forget to respect my TOU, it's included in the download file. Thanks! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

See Tree?: Father Christmas Update

I managed to finish another scrapbook page the weekend before last in the midst of getting everything ready for homeschool. All of my friends that homeschool swear that we'll get into more of a routine, and I'm hoping it happens soon. Scrapbooking is my way of decompressing and currently I'm having to decide between sleep and scrapbooking. Guess which one is winning? 

I'm still working with my Basic Grey Eskimo Kisses paper pack and embellishments. This time I also pulled some Hambly rub ons, various bling, and Paper Wishes brads that my grandma got me a long time ago. The Christmas tree branch came from a Hydrangea Hippo kit. I just HAD to use it, but it makes my page super dimensional because I had to pop everything up to accommodate for the height of the branch. 

Christmas Tree_Branch_Funny Scrapbook Page

This was the year that Brandon drove us all nuts with his obsession over the Christmas tree. While we were decorating he kept asking, "See tree?". We kept saying... "Yes, See tree!". He must've said it half a million times, so I thought it would be a great story to document.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

January 2011: Template Two

Hi everyone! I am still working on pulling my freebies from all over the web so I can host all of the links in one place. This is an older sketch that was posted on the Ideas For Scrapbooker's blog, but it may be new to you. Feel free to save the image to your computer for later use, or I've added a Pinterest button for easier pinning. (All you have to do is hold your mouse over the image and it'll pop up.)

This is the example page that I made back then. I used Cosmo Cricket's Jack's World collection and a super adorable photo of Brandon with my father-in-law. 

Please click here to download your free digital template. I hope you enjoy it. Don't forget to follow my terms of use. Thank you!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ten Things I've Learned About Homeschooling

Are you curious? Here are the top ten things I've learned about homeschooling in the first week.

1. It's important to have at least one or two people who are completely supportive of your decision to homeschool. I took this photo of the kids with my grandparents when they stopped by to bring me some National Geographic magazines that the kids could cut up. My grandpa tried to make me cry when he told me that I'm the best mother he's ever known. Seriously? I could cry now just thinking about it. Neither one of them have questioned my decision to homeschool once. That kind of support is priceless! 

2. Sometimes Science experiments take a looong time, and I'm not the most patient person. I am still waiting for our popcorn rocks to grow crystals! There are crystals all around the edge of the cup but none on the rocks yet. Grow rocks, grow. Now. Please?

3. Brandon and I love art, but Jordan doesn't think it's as fun as we do. When we create nature journal pages, Brandon and I are in heaven. We like to paint, color, and add details. Jordan draws her stick figures and refuses to color her pages. In the grand scheme of things, it's not a huge deal. She would rather listen to music or play the keyboard.

My Butterfly Nature Journal Page

Brandon's Butterfly Nature Journal Page

My Ant & Earthworm Nature Journal Page

Brandon's Ant & Earthworm Nature Journal Page

As you can see, Brandon doesn't take direction in art very well. He has his own ideas on what to draw and he goes off on a tangent. I figure if he's drawing then it's good enough. Actually, it's pretty funny. He's quite a character!

4. Some of our homeschool projects are quite extensive, but they are very worth it when your kid smiles like he does in the photo below. Thank goodness for Distress Ink! I didn't think that I'd use my scrapbook supplies much during homeschool, but we've already used ink to distress a miniature scroll for Brandon's Bible studies. I have a feeling that my stash might come in handy in the future.

I used Zip Dry to glue tiny wooden beads on the end of skewers. Brandon can roll the scroll up very neatly now and it makes his little heart happy. (The skewers were too narrow for him to roll at first.)

5. Everything is an educational opportunity. (Even a play date with a friends' puppy.) We learned lots of different words this week. Niche, habitat, ecosystem... When my friend brought her new puppy over to play, they had a discussion about the puppy's niche, habitat, and ecosystem. It cracked me up!

Samantha thought her niche was sleeping and being petted. Her habitat? My couch. She was so stinkin' cute and Stephanie wouldn't leave her with me no matter how hard I tried. 

6. Remember that ants bite! We successfully avoided the ants while we were looking through the magnifying glass and observing. Unfortunately, while we were walking inside later, Brandon walked through a trail of ants. They decided to march all over him and he has several bites on his foot. As usual, he decided that the bites all needed Band-aids! I keep that company in business based on this kid alone.

7. Academy Sports sells earthworms. You'll need to know that when you find that there's a serious earthworm shortage in your backyard... at least I did. Our earthworm niche is coming along nicely with some refrigerated worm supplementation. These worms are lucky. They're going to avoid some fisherman's hook!

8. Scrapbook time is found after midnight when the house is quiet and the children are asleep. I have to wait until after all of the planning for the next day is finished. I never realized how much planning and organization went into homeschooling. Luckily, I'm good at that sort of thing. 

9. Jordan can throw an epic tantrum when she gets one spelling word wrong. I am both proud and terrified of the fact that she's turned into a little perfectionist like me. It makes her really good at sticking to things and trying her best, but she doesn't take any sort of failure well at all.

10. It's worth it. So worth it. My relationship with Brandon and Jordan has developed a lot over the past week, and their relationship has gotten even closer. I catch them playing together and using their imagination instead of watching the TV. They keep reading when book basket time is over and are disappointed when our homeschooling day is finished by lunch time. Overall, I've been really amazed by how well things have gone. I know deep down in my heart that homeschooling is the right thing for these two. I'm not questioning or worrying anymore and that's a beautiful feeling.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Super Happy Holidays: Father Christmas Update

I'm sure you've all noticed that I've pretty much fallen off of the map completely over the last week. I have a really good excuse! Last week was our first week of homeschool. We experienced tantrums, mishaps, and earthworm shortages. Thankfully, we managed to survive and have fun. I'm going to have a post soon with photos and details from our first week, but for now I have another Father Christmas project update

I've pretty much decided that I'm going to be scrapbooking Christmas pages until I turn 34. It doesn't seem like the pile of pictures is shrinking as quickly as I'd thought it would. It's all Christmas all the time! At least I've pulled some new paper for the next few layouts. I was glad to find Basic Grey's Eskimo Kisses line in my stash. It's an oldie but a goodie, and my girls wear a lot of pink so it really works well with my photos. 

Christmas Present_Scrapbook Layout_Boots

When I pulled these pictures the thing that stood out the most was Alexis' big, clunky brown boots, so I decided to make the journaling about her Christmas boots. They were the only thing that she asked for and she refused to take them off the entire first day she had them, so all of the photos feature the boots!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Pretty Ribbon Organization Solutions

I don't know about y'all, but I am very much an "out of sight, out of mind" person. I make an active effort to keep several groups of scrappy supplies in my line of sight to make sure that I use them. Ribbon is definitely something I keep visible in my space. If I don't see it, I don't use it! 

I'd like to share a few photos of the way I store my ribbon, and I have the SVG file that I created in case you'd like to try it too. You can make the SVG bigger if you store a lot of wide ribbon. I used very sturdy chipboard and the multi-cut feature so the ribbon cards would be as strong as possible. As you can see, I sort my ribbon by color. I recently went on a huge ribbon purging spree and I still have a ton. 

Free SVG File_Ribbon Organizing Method

I hang all of the little cards on a large cup hook and they make for a really pretty, very accessible display right above my desk. Make sure you get the hook into a stud, not just in your drywall. The ribbon is heavier than it looks!

Unique Ribbon Organization_Fun Display

Click on the following link to download your free svg for fun ribbon organization! Please don't forget to respect my terms of use.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

School Is Cool (Pajama Party)

It's time for an epic photo update like I promised. This week was our last week of Summer vacation and we went out with a bang! We met my friend Stephanie and her kids at the Abita Trailhead on Tuesday so the kids could play in the fountains. It was all fun and games until Jordan fell in the grass, Alexis got an occular migraine, and Brandon smacked the goodness out of his head on the concrete. 

Brandon also scraped the side of his foot up really badly and it's still not healed. Luckily, his head was okay. I fixed him up and Alexis came to me freaking out because she couldn't see. She had "weird colors and lights". I knew exactly what she meant because I get occular migraines too. 

We were there for about two hours before all of the craziness started, and I managed to get quite a few good pictures. I brought my DSLR, but my favorite photo was this one that I snapped really quickly with my iPhone. Jordan was pretending to be Kaos from Skylanders. She's so stinkin' funny!

When we got home, I bandaged and fixed everyone. A Mom's job is never finished! That evening we baked an Earth cake as part of our introduction to homeschool. We are using My Father's World's Exploring Countries And Cultures curriculum with Jordan and it was one of our first project assignments. Alexis and I baked the cake. I frosted the sides of the cake and handed the icing over to the kids.

Brandon and Jordan had already dyed the icing with gel food coloring a few hours earlier, so they got to work spreading it on top of the cake. Please note Brandon's lovely blue mustache in the photo below. He got into the icing! 

Jordan went after frosting the cake like she does everything else... with gusto! I thought it was extra awesome because she was getting great fine motor practice. She found out that it takes a lot of control to ice a cake.

I outlined all of the continents on each hemisphere and Alexis helped me fill them in. She had a hard time squeezing the icing bag so I had to help. (Alexis absolutely loves cooking and she wants to be a chef in Disney World when she grows up.)

Here's our finished cake. It's not the most beautiful cake in the history of the planet, but it's ours and it's pretty accurate too. I think the kids did a great job!

I didn't get pictures of them eating it, but I did snap this photo a while after they were done. It looked like they ate Smurfs. 

Wednesday was a pretty quiet day except for the fact that the girls got in a HUGE fight at Alexis' therapist's office. (I'm betting on the little one. She's tiny but she's scrappy. Run Alexis, run!) I made them have some quiet reading time so they could all calm down when we got home. 

Look! They aren't fighting and they're quiet. It lasted for 30 whole minutes. I made them sit on separate couches. Sisters. Sigh.

Brandon's homeschool curriculum shipment came in on Wednesday. Nothing like waiting until the last possible minute to finish ordering everything. (Especially since we started homeschool this Friday.) I had a very short time to go through everything and I had to read two books. I managed by staying up very late! I don't recommend it and I'm going to be ordering MUCH earlier next year. Brandon was very, very happy. (We are using the My Father's World's Exploring God's Story curriculum with him.)

Jordan had therapy on Thursday. We've been going for so long that Brandon just acts like it's his house. The shoes come off, the TV goes on, and he chills on the floor. 

We got Alexis' hair cut on the way home from Jordan's therapy appointment. I always, always love it when she gets her hair cut this way. She's just the cutest. She's been doing really well lately and we are so thankful. God has been doing some amazing things in our lives! 

I finally got everything finished and sorted late Thursday night. I was SO excited and nervous to start homeschool on Friday that I couldn't sleep. What if I messed something up? What if I forgot something? What if it wasn't perfect? What if they hated it? 

Alexis and I got up really early Friday morning so I could help her get ready and take photos. She picked out pink and black shoes as well as a neon pink backpack when we went shopping. She wore a bow that Stephanie made her and I told her that she looked adorable! The neon pink stuff that she loved makes me remember being young in the 80's. Everything old is new again and trends come back around I suppose.

There's a story behind the picture below. Brandon has been SO excited about being homeschooled. He kept saying, "Mom, Do I have to get out of my pajamas?" I told him he didn't have to unless we had to go somewhere. You would've thought that I'd told him we would have Christmas every day of the year! He was really looking forward to the first day of school so he could hang out in his pajamas all day. Of course their first day of homeschool photo HAD to be in their jammies. The grins on both of their faces make me happy!

We did a lot of activities about the world and continents on our first day. Here's an Instagram of Jordan cutting her passport application apart. They even had to address the envelopes and mail them... to me!

Everything went really smoothly and I was thankful. I know there will be good days and bad days, but our first day was definitely a good one. The kids did all of their work in record time so I gave Brandon the option of doing an art project. He loves art and has informed me that he'll be an artist one day, so he jumped at the chance to draw.

Thank you all so much for the positive, encouraging comments on my last post. They really meant a lot to me! I swear, I don't know why we can't all just get along sometimes.