Monday, February 29, 2016

February 2015 Layouts

This last and leap day of February I'm squeezing in my February 2015 layouts.  I'm not gaining any ground on catching up yet, but at least I'm not losing any.

Wood Veneer from Pinkfresh Studios Up in the Clouds Collection; Patterned paper from Maggie Holmes Shine Collection; Wood Grain paper from Simple Stories Hello Baby Collection

Colored Pencil Paper from 7Paper by Studio Calico; Alphabet Paper from Simple Stories Smarty Pants Collection; American Crafts Thickers

Wood frame from Katie Pertiet at Designer Digitals

Heart Template from Ali Edwards

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

January 2015 Layouts

I'm trying a different system this year to catch up on all my scrapbooks at once.  I am at the same point chronologically in all albums, so I am making my digital images for my family book, as well as completing any traditional pages that go in my kids' albums.  Here's to new resolutions!

Paper and embellishments all from Crate Paper Boy's Rule collection.

Papers and chipboard stickers are all from Maggie Holmes' Shine collection.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Book lists and organization

Paper from October Afternoon Milk Money Daily Flash Collection, library card from old Creating Keepsakes Kit Of The Month

I've been searching for the perfect organization solution for the endless books that are piled on the counter, on the couch, in the car, etc.  You're thinking "a bookcase, duh!" But with each of my kids reading several different books from different sources (the school library, the local library, home, etc.) I wanted to find a place to organize the "I'm currently reading..." piles that are around --an interactive place that is always changing and never getting dusty.

Before we get in the car, I am always saying, "Grab a book!"  The end table by the garage door was the perfect place to house our books.  I found these awesome book dividers/bookends at that were perfect for what I was looking for.  I wanted to be able to divide the space by person and also I wanted it to be adjustable for more or less books.  I love that we each now have our own section and bonus that it is rainbow colored!

Maya has once again finished reading the Texas Bluebonnet Books and will attend a party at the end of the month for being one of only a few who did so.  Each year the  Texas Library Association compiles a list of 20 books for Texas children to read so they can explore a variety of current books, develop powers of discrimination, and identify their favorite books. It further affords an opportunity to honor and encourage imaginative authors who create books with high appeal to children.

We recommend the following ones that were her favorites.  There were a few on the list that I screened and didn't want her reading as I felt they dealt with issues she should not be exposed to yet. 

AlwaysAbigail      The_Ghosts_of_Tupelo_Landing         dust bowl    SkyJumpers        
  Grandfather Gandhi   HerosGuide hc c    LostPlanet    SalemHyde_cover       NightGardener_cover_CMYK    QuinnyCover    TheRightWord    RutherfordCover (2)        F&FBoilerPlate Scraps Book  
Her favorite one was The Hero's Guide to Saving the Kingdom by Christopher Healy. It is the first of a trilogy that she loved.  It kept her giggling and quoting it to me the whole time.  It's fun for boys too.  Here are the other books in the series

Here is another list like I have done in the past for books I recommend for girls 8-12 years old: 

She is loving the Warriors series the most.  She tells me about each character and I roll my eyes, wondering what she likes about it (it's about Warrior Cat Clans), but they are immensely popular, and I haven't read one to make my own judgement.  The author(s) have multiple series within and there are a bazillion books that expand into Seekers and Survivors, but currently she is only reading the Warriors books.

    By: Erin Hunter

□    Into the Wild
□    Fire and Ice
□    Forest of Secrets
□    Rising Storm
□    A Dangerous Path
□    The Darkest Hour

□    Midnight
□    Moonrise
□    Dawn
□    Starlight
□    Twilight
□    Sunset

□    The Sight
□    Dark River
□    Outcast
□    Eclipse
□    Long Shadows
□    Sunrise

□    The Fourth Apprentice
□    Fading Echoes
□    Night Whispers
□    Sign of the Moon
□    The Forgotten Warrior
□    The Last Hope

□    The Sun Trail
□    Thunder Rising
□    The First Battle
□    The Blazing Star
□    A Forest Divided
□    Path of Stars

□    Ravenpaw’s Path #1: Shattered Peace
□    Ravenpaw's Path #2: A Clan in Need
□    Ravenpaw's Path #3: The Heart of a Warrior
□    SkyClan and the Stranger #1: The Rescue
□    SkyClan and the Stranger #2: Beyond the Code
□    SkyClan and the Stranger #3: After the Flood
□    Tigerstar and Sasha #1: Into the Woods
□    Tigerstar and Sasha #2: Escape from the Forest
□    Tigerstar and Sasha #3: Return to the Clans
□    The Rise of Scourge
□    The Lost Warrior
□    Warrior's Refuge
□    Warrior’s Return

□    Yellowfang’s Secret
□    Tallstar’s Revenge
□    Bluestar’s Prophecy
□    Crookedstar’s Promise
□    Firestar’s Quest
□    Skyclan’s Destiny
□    Mothflight’s Vision

□    Warrior’s Field Guide
□    Battle of the Clans
□    Cats of the Clans
□    Enter the Clans
□    Code of the Clans
□    The Ultimate Guide

□    Hollyleaf’s Story
□    Mistystar’s Omen
□    Cloudstar’s Journey
□    The Untold Stories
□    Tigerclaw’s Fury
□    Dovewing’s Silence
□    Tales from the Clans

Next up, she has started reading the original Nancy Drew books that I read as a girl.

    By: Carolyn Keene

□    1. The Secret of the Old Clock
□    2. The Hidden Staircase
□    3. The Bungalow Mystery
□    4. The Mystery at Lilac Inn
□    5. The Secret of Shadow Ranch
□    6. The Secret of Red Gate Farm
□    7. The Clue in the Diary
□    8. Nancy's Mysterious Letter
□    9. The Sign of the Twisted Candles
□    10. The Password to Larkspur Lane
□    11. The Clue of the Broken Locket
□    12. The Message in the Hollow Oak
□    13. The Mystery of the Ivory Charm
□    14. The Whispering Statue
□    15. The Haunted Bridge
□    16. The Clue of the Tapping Heels
□    17. The Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk
□    18. Mystery of the Moss-Covered Mansion
□    19. The Quest of the Missing Map
□    20. The Clue in the Jewel Box
□    21. The Secret in the Old Attic
□    22. The Clue in the Crumbling Wall
□    23. The Mystery of the Tolling Bell
□    24. The Clue in the Old Album
□    25. The Ghost of Blackwood Hall
□    26. The Clue of the Leaning Chimney
□    27. The Secret of the Wooden Lady
□    28. The Clue of the Black Keys
□    29. The Mystery at the Ski Jump
□    30. The Clue of the Velvet Mask
□    31. The Ringmaster's Secret
□    32. The Scarlet Slipper Mystery
□    33. The Witch Tree Symbol
□    34. The Hidden Window Mystery
□    35. The Haunted Showboat
□    36. The Secret of the Golden Pavilion
□    37. The Clue in the Old Stagecoach
□    38. The Mystery of the Fire Dragon
□    39. The Clue of the Dancing Puppet
□    40. The Moonstone Castle Mystery
□    41. The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes
□    42. The Phantom of Pine Hill
□    43. The Mystery of the 99 Steps
□    44. The Clue in the Crossword Cipher
□    45. The Spider Sapphire Mystery
□    46. The Invisible Intruder
□    47. The Mysterious Mannequin
□    48. The Crooked Banister
□    49. The Secret of Mirror Bay
□    50. The Double Jinx Mystery
□    51. Mystery of the Glowing Eye
□    52. The Secret of the Forgotten City
□    53. The Sky Phantom
□    54. The Strange Message in the Parchment
□    55. Mystery of Crocodile Island
□    56. The Thirteenth Pearl

    By: Laura Ingalls Wilder

□    1. Little House in the Big Woods
□    2. Little House on the Prairie
□    3. Farmer Boy
□    4. On the Banks of Plum Creek
□    5. By the Shores of Silver Lake
□    6. The Long Winter
□    7. Little Town on the Prairie
□    8. These Happy Golden Years
□    9. The First Four Years

    By: Soman Chainani

□    The School for Good and Evil
□    A World Without Princes
□    The Last Ever After

    By: Shannon Hale

□    The Storybook of Legends
□    The Unfairest of Them All
□    A Wonderlandiful World

    By: Cindy Callaghan

□    Lost in London
□    Lost in Paris
□    Lost in Rome
□    Lost in Ireland

Of course we are constantly adding to the previous lists I have made (here, here, and here)as the authors add new books to their series.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Cancun 2014 6x8 Mini Album | part iii | Xel-ha

This is the last part of my 2014 Cancun travel mini album.  I really enjoyed making this album, and it makes me want to book tickets right now to go back again!

Here is a look at the cover.

Album is Becky Higgins Project Life 6x8 album, Cancun stickers are from Scrapbook Customs Tropical Excursions Collection, and tags are from Pink Paislee Atlas Collection.

Maya loved seeing her name on EVERYTHING!  (MayaAir, Animaya, Maya Hotel, Mayacoba, Junglamaya, etc.)  We stayed at our hotel for Thanksgiving.  I could get used to having bread pudding with mango sauce, french toast with vanilla sauce, yogurt covered strawberries and bananas, and sopapillas for my Thanksgiving Feast every year!  Wow!

Friday we went to the sister park of Xcaret called Xel-ha.  It was another fabulous ecopark with a natural lagoon.  I really could have spent hours snorkeling, but the kids grew frustrated rapidly when their masks kept leaking water.  I think being in the deeper lagoon panicked them a little more than the pool did at Xcaret.

As for an update on my Olympus Tough TG-850 underwater camera ... I used it a lot in this park.  I was in the shade a bit when I took my pictures of fish, so the ISO is high and the images were dark and got grainy fast.  I think in shallower water the pix would be more vivid, but I was happy overall with the quality.  I also didn't spend as much time as I wanted tinkering around with it because the kids were having such trouble.

However, during this day I noticed that the camera developed water vapor on the lens inside where I couldn't wipe it off.  As you see in the bottom photo below, there is a bit of condensation forming.  I read reviews about this, and I guess it's pretty common in underwater cameras, and you just have to sit it open in the sun for a bit to let it dry out.  Mine did go away after it dried, but in the moment the photo is ruined.

I also tested the camera on the zipline using the video setting.  If you scan the QR code on my picture, you can see a video of us having fun.  The colors are vivid (almost too much), but overall I am happy with the quality of the video as I am splashing down.  I do need to get a float for this camera, because I was paranoid I was going to drop it in my adventures.  Again in the bottom large photo you can see the condensation drop. At least it wasn't smack dab in the middle of the photo. One feature I did like was the ability to zoom while recording.

The page has a lot of transparent accents, which I love.

The pictures from the dolphin encounter are ones I purchased from the park for a hefty price!  I purposefully did not enroll myself in the fun so I could take pictures, but I had to stand so far away from them that getting a good photograph was impossible!  So I bought their digital package and their images were super saturated, so I had to tone them down a lot using Photoshop. But I'm happy for the precious captures that they got. 

Scrapbook Customs has a collection called Tropical Excursions that makes these fun destination specific papers and stickers.

A closer look shows the dimensions of the button and the details printed on the camera.

They also have some cut apart paper that's perfect for Project Life layouts.

And that's a wrap!

To view Parts i and ii of this album follow these links:

Cancun 2014 Mini Album Part i

Cancun 2014 Mini Album Part ii