I really enjoy Pinterest, but haven't allowed myself to browse it for several months. I've been too busy with commitments. Well, today I finished something I've been working on for more than a year! I couldn't even think about "recuperation" until it was finished. I rewarded myself with a few minutes on Pinterest. :) Picture taken with Instagram on my iPad.
A couple weeks ago, I decided to discontinue my Bite-sized Scrapbooking email subscription service* -- it will end after 52 weeks of layouts (January 27, 2012), and the service is now free. There were several factors in my decision, but the bottom line is this: It requires a lot of time and I'm short on time. For more explanation (much more!), read on.
(1) Running and promoting BSS was/is very time consuming -- much more than I anticipated when I was developing the service. For one thing, I offer quite a bit more content each week than I had originally planned. From lining up layouts to preparing weekly content to promoting and advertising the service, plus customer service and other administrative tasks, I work on BSS several hours per week. I have spent many an evening and weekend day in front of the computer working on these things -- when I really needed to be doing other things. With a full-time job, three active children, and a home that needs constant attention due to a high level of daily activity (my husband provides child and dog care in our home), I simply cannot keep up. Not even close. And it shows.
(2) I started a new job six weeks ago which is much more satisfying to me than the job I had when I was developing BSS. I love my new job, but it also wears me out. When I'm at my office, I'm completely consumed; I can't even manage to write a personal (or BSS) to-do list on my lunch break. And when I get home from work, it's tough to do even more "thinking" work because I'm mentally exhausted (same reason it took me so long to write this post!). This change is not a bad thing! I am so much happier at my job these days.
(3) It was challenging to find inspiration layouts and it seemed increasingly difficult each time I searched for them. I was not looking forward to finding layouts for February and beyond (thankfully, I have all of the remaining layouts lined up, so I don't have to do this again). I have specific parameters for the layouts I choose, and they're just not very easy to find online -- and many that do fit my parameters were based on someone else's sketch (which typically doesn't work for my business model, but there were a few exceptions), or the copyright is owned by large entities such as CK or Two Peas. I would often look at hundreds of layouts before finding one to pursue.
(4) Despite spending quite a bit of time and money on advertising and promotional activities, I saw very little net subscriber growth (I had 24 subscribers after the first week; eight months later, I had 36). This part of the business was my least favourite part, and I knew it would be a never-ending task. I would always have to be working to gain new subscribers, and I wasn't sure BSS would ever grow large enough to make up for the time I was spending on it -- and, more importantly, all of the things I was trading for it. Honestly, it would have taken a significantly larger number of paying subscribers to keep me going. I would have had to earn enough to hire weekly housekeeping help, and then some.
(5) Except for a few pages I finished this summer, I could not find time to scrapbook and I really wondered if I'd ever have time again. Oh, the irony! It brings to mind the old cliches of the shoemaker's children having no shoes and the carpenter's house needing repair. And it certainly wasn't for lack of desire to scrapbook. Very much the opposite! But I could not squeeze it in on top of my BSS work. It's frustrating. There are so many pages and projects I want to do. There are other things I enjoy doing that I haven't been able to do, either. For example, I've barely looked at my Google Reader or Pinterest for months. It may seem trivial, but I equate the loss of those pastimes with a loss of down time.
I'm glad that for the next 16 weeks I will only be producing the weekly content -- which is my favourite part of the business -- and I won't have to do any advertising or searching for future layouts. This will free up some time and feel less daunting as my family gets into the full swing of fall and winter activities.
When I decided to end the email service, I also decided to make it free for everyone. It may seem like an odd thing to do. Not only did I forfeit future income from the service, I gave refunds to all six-month subscribers for the time left on their subscriptions. Why would I do that?
Basically, since I knew the service would end at a certain time -- and it's the same amount of work for me on a weekly basis whether I have 30 subscribers or 300 -- I thought, why not open it up? I had always hoped a couple hundred people would sign up, and I wanted to see what that would be like. The more, the merrier! I also thought that giving the service for free might lead to more sales of my BSS Bundle #1. I would only find out if I tried it.
Pricing was always an area of uncertainty. At $5 a month, I don't believe BSS was over priced and I know the service was valuable to many of my subscribers, but I also know that free scrapbooking ideas and inspiration are widely available. Plus, there are a great many ways to spend money in this hobby. Many of us have to choose carefully. At the same time, I always thought that charging for the service was not only right for me, but for subscribers. Many people tend to be more committed to classes or memberships they pay for (I know I am) and I really wanted people to take action on the email messages they received from me. Getting layouts done is the whole point! But it was very challenging to reach those who would be interested in this type of service and convince them to pay for it. I am very grateful for those who did choose to spend their hard-earned money on BSS!
In many ways, BSS has been a big experiment all along. I didn't know of any other service like it and I didn't know anything about running an online business. I've learned so much over the past year, I couldn't even begin to explain it. I'm very happy to have learned all that I have, and now I'm truly delighted to offer the service for free until it ends.
It has been incredibly fun to see hundreds of people sign up for the email service! As of this moment, there are 492 on the mailing list. Wow! The vast majority of new sign-ups are the result of Stacy Julian mentioning BSS on her blog. How exciting is that?! Many thanks to my friend, Tracy (LOM coach), for bringing it to Stacy's attention. Also, I found it very interesting that within a week of making the service free, much of the income I had given up came back to me in other ways -- I won a 50-50 cash prize at Crop & Create last weekend and have sold a few more bundles. It makes me think of the quote:
"Life is like a boomerang; what you give, you get back." Acad
*To clarify, BSS isn't going away entirely; just the email subscription service. I still have BSS Bundle #1 for sale and will have Bundle #2 for sale after the service ends. Also, I wonder if I could reinvent the service in some way that would allow me to do scrapbooking for myself as well as deliver bite-sized prompts. I'll be thinking about this over the next few months. I don't know if it's possible, but we'll see!
I've been wanting to write this post for weeks now. At this point, it's now or never! I hate to miss recording some things as I feel like my blog/record book would be incomplete.
The last third of August was so very busy. Honestly, much busier than I would have liked.
At work, I was wrapping up my old job and packing to go to a new office location. On the 24th, I went out for lunch with a large group of coworkers to the Rooftop Grill. It was a farewell lunch for our co-op student which turned into a farewell for me, too (which is totally fine!). They gave me a nice card and a gift card for The Keg. Also, on my last day of work at head office (August 25), Neil packed lunches so he and the girls could have lunch with me in Victoria Park. My mom happened to be in the city that day, so she met us downtown as well. Unfortunately, my last day was so full of meetings, my lunch break was rushed and shorter than usual.
At home, I was spending quite a bit of time preparing BSS Bundle #1 as a free gift for subscribers and for sale.
And there were school preparations. I spent hours updating our family wall calendar for the upcoming school year with all the information I had received and could find. Labeling a gazillion school supplies took a few hours as well. All three girls were very excited about their supplies and insisted on helping. I miss the days when I could label school supplies in front of the TV after they went to bed!
The weekend before school started, I decided I had better decorate a shirt for Georgia's kindergarten paint smock -- after all, I had done the same for both Sophia and Madeline! For all three, I used an old black t-shirt from my closet and some glitter fabric paint. Designs were done on the fly, with the child's input, and they're all different but all have their name front and centre. (This is what the paint looks like when wet; it's more translucent and glittery when dry.)
On the 19th, we went to a farewell barbecue for Neil's cousin, Rhonda, who was moving to Ottawa for a new job, on very short notice. I'm glad we could see her before she left town! The party was at Darren and Ali's. We hadn't seen them for quite awhile (at least I hadn't) and the girls enjoyed playing with their little second cousins, Gabe and Avery.
On the 20th, we went to Yellow Grass to see my Great Grandma Byrns (visiting from Saskatoon), Aunt Chris and Uncle Tim (visiting from Idaho), and family who live in YG. First, we went out to Mom and Dad's farm to see the bison. I wrote a bit about this excursion on my layout about Madeline and the bull. The girls were also thrilled to ride on the Rhino with their grandpa. Sophia even drove it for a little while! (Madeline isn't quite tall enough yet.) On the way back to town with Mom, we enjoyed seeing many different birds in the marshes and flooded farmland along the road.
Back in town, my sister-in-law, Robyn, brought her children, Ethan, Jordyn, and Kacy, over to Mom and Dad's for a visit. (Unfortunately, my brother was working and couldn't be there.) Great Grandma, Chris, and Tim left before supper as they wanted to get back to Saskatoon before dark. The kids hadn't seen their cousins for months. They really enjoyed playing together, and going for walks and to the park. The younger four also painted some pictures. Painting at Grandma's house has become a tradition! We had a nice dinner at Mom and Dad's and went back to Regina in the evening.
On the 21st, we attended a thank-you barbecue for those who helped with the K4J Vacation Bible Camp earlier in the month. All three girls attended the camp (Sophia as a captain), and Neil had helped with props and clean up.
On the 26th, Madeline had her first appointment with an orthodontist because her top teeth are very crowded. He recommended that she get a couple baby teeth (top eye teeth) pulled right away to give the permanent teeth a little more room. She'll definitely need braces in a couple years, too. (She had those teeth pulled after school on September 6. Her mouth was frozen for a long time, but she still participated in her ringette camp that evening.)
On the 27th, we went to Weyburn for a welcome party for my cousin's baby, Lexington. (We had helped them out with their daughter, Bailey, while Lex was born on June 14.) It was nice to see them again, as well as Mom, Grandma Mantay, Aunt Colleen, Robyn, Jordyn, and Kacy. (Ethan was with his dad.)
On the 28th, we enjoyed having dinner with our friends, the Eleys, at their house. The food was delicious and it was a very nice evening. I'm still thinking about the fresh fruit salad of peaches, nectarines, raspberries, and blueberries, with citrus pound cake on the side. :) Thanks MJ and R! You're great hosts!
And with that, we were off to the start of a new school year, new job, and new activities in our schedule. I think I've covered everything from here on!
I took this photo in the park on Monday evening. I'm so glad I ran across a similar photo from last summer which inspired me to get this photo for "finding our tribe." Dash is on the left.
The girls having been having a fun week. Neil took them (including B) swimming at the Sandra Schmirler on Monday, bowling at the Golden Mile on Tuesday, and to PlayEscapes (-B) on Wednesday afternoon. There were several other kids there that they know. This afternoon, Georgia enjoyed a playdate at Henry's house. The girls have also been playing with Zoe (neighbour) at every opportunity.
The girls' swimming lessons end tomorrow. I look forward to going along on their last day. Neil says he's going to miss swimming lessons because he gets to sit and read all morning. (He's enjoying the Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson.) All three are doing quite well so I'm sure they'll pass. They won't have swimming lessons again until next summer.
Sophia and Madeline are super excited about going to camp in a few days. They have already started packing, but we will spend quite a bit of time this weekend making sure they have everything they need and that it's all labeled. The list of supplies they require is quite long! The weather looks great for their camp days -- sunny and hot. I don't think they'll be cold at night, but I hope they don't get any severe storms!
I'm off work now until August 8th! Woohoo! And, other than driving the girls to and from camp, I'm staying home the whole time! I love that. I will be working practically the whole time (housework, paperwork, yard work, BSS work), but that's okay. Actually, it's GREAT! I have so much to do. All progress will be thrilling! (I always remind myself that any progress is good because I can never get everything done.)
The past couple of weeks, I have been doing a lot of extra work for Bite-sized Scrapbooking in addition to my usual weekly tasks:
I'm supplying a 6-month subscription as a prize for a contest at a major scrapbooking store in California, so I provided some information for their blog post.
I'm writing a guest post for a popular scrapbooking website and I want to provide high-quality content, so I'm working very hard on that! When it goes live (which may be several weeks away), I will certainly share the link here (and everywhere!).
I'm developing another Bite-sized Scrapbooking product. I've been working on this project a little every weekend for a couple months now. I'm not quite ready to share details, but I'm excited about it!
I'm in the midst of finding and getting permission for the last 19 layouts of the first year of BSS. This is my third time doing a big search for layouts, spread over a couple of weekends each time. (In January, I lined up the first 17 layouts; in April, I secured the next 16 layouts, and this time, I need 19 to complete 52 weeks of BSS). From my efforts last weekend, I've received permission for 10 layouts, and I will spend several more hours this weekend trying to establish the last nine. I estimate it takes me about 90 minutes per layout when all is said and done (that doesn't include developing the content when the layout is scheduled). Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to design my own layouts! But there are many more good things that come out of connecting with others in the online scrapbooking world. Plus, it's great for subscribers to get layouts from different designers, and my layouts would certainly not be as varied in design or products used.
I adore these petunias with the green edges. So cool. This one is growing in one of Laurel's beautiful planters. I've also seen them in some city-owned pots downtown.
After posting almost daily for a month, it was good to have a little break from blogging but I certainly don't want to miss recording some of the details of our weekend.
We spent Thursday evening at L&B's to celebrate our niece's 11th birthday. Neil had taken the girls over earlier in the afternoon and then he picked me up from work so we could go straight there. Shauna, Cole, and Rian had arrived from Edmonton earlier in the day, and Donna, Lou, Darren, Ali, Gabe, and Avery were there as well. We had a great dinner (bbq'd hamburgers, corn on the cob, etc) and birthday cake from Coldstone Creamery. We didn't get home until about 9:30 and I was exhausted, so I stayed in bed after reading to Madeline and Georgia.
I was up early on Friday, Canada Day. I worked on email and Bite-sized Scrapbooking stuff until after lunch and then weeded the garden for three hours in the afternoon. Meanwhile, Neil took the girls to a Rider practice (11:00 am) where they got a bunch of things autographed, and then to the park for Canada Day festivities in the afternoon. Laurel, Bronwyn, Shauna, Cole, and Rian also did those things with them. Around 5:30 pm, we picked up Donna from the Pasqua hospital where Grandma Louise is recovering from surgery, and we went to L&B's house for our nephew's 7th birthday celebration. We had Houston Pizza for supper and a delicious "zebra" cake which Shauna made and decorated with white icing and red fondont maple leafs. After supper, Sophia went to a movie with her friend Meghan, while we stayed at L&B's until almost 9 pm. Once again, that was the end of the day for me. I don't know why, but I can't seem to stay up late any more! I guess I'm working harder these days.
On Saturday, I got up at 6:00 am and did a little more BSS work. I really don't mind getting up early on weekends. For awhile on Saturday morning, I appreciated the complete silence of the house. Not even the A/C was running. :) When Madeline got up, she and I (with coffee in hand) enjoyed a stroll around our garden on a gorgeous sunny morning. I loved chatting with Madeline as we looked at the plants and flowers. I love to hear her perspective on things.
Before too long, I went to work cleaning the living room and dining room floors while Neil hauled all of the toys out to the front lawn, placing them on top of old sheets. Once everything was out and the floors cleared, Madeline and I took a little break to pick up bread and treats at Orange Boot Bakery (I was after the Rhubarb & Walnut muffins in particular). At 1:00 pm, Neil took the girls to go swimming with their cousins at the Sandra Schmirler Leisure Centre. Meanwhile, I sorted toys for about six hours straight (with Neil's help for some of those hours). Can you believe that? I didn't think it would take that long -- and was frustrated that it did -- but at least it was a gorgeous day outside. And it is great to have this done but I know there are more toys lurking in our house somewhere. There are a few obvious things missing from sets and games. That drives me nuts!
Neil made an awesome supper (bison tenderloin steak, perfect potatoes/carrots/onions, corn on the cob) and we ate out on the patio for the first time this year. And then I had to take the girls to 7-11 for 5-cent candies because I had promised. Ugggh. What was I thinking? Oh yeah, that they were supposed to help me with the toy sorting -- and they did, but less than I was hoping due to the swimming excursion and playing with their new friend, Zoe, from two doors down. After that, we hauled all of the toys into the house.
Sunday was another gruelling day of working with the toys. This time indoors, we went through every container deciding what toys to give away (all but one miscellaneous box as we ran out of time). The girls did pretty well. We collected another large box full of toys and dress-up clothes, 30 small stuffed animals (unfortunately, very little relative to the remaining stuffies: I cannot get them to part with Webkinz!), and a bag of play dough paraphernalia (we kept the best tools and cookie cutters) to give away. Also on Sunday, Neil and the girls took Dash for a play date, we took Neil to the Rider game, and the girls played with Zoe for 90 minutes before supper. When we finished going through the stuffed animals in the evening, which was quite challenging, I rewarded the girls: for each stuffie they gave away, they received 25 cents toward DQ treats. They ended up with $7.50 total, so we went to the new DQ at 8:00 pm and they each enjoyed a small sundae. We also picked up Neil, just two blocks from our house, on his way home from the football game (he often walks home; it takes about 40 minutes). It was another LONG day -- with an extremely messy kitchen at the end of it.
After all of this toy business, I now have good solid inventory of the things we're hanging onto (for now), and have divided them into these categories: (1) All-season, (2) Summer (Jun-Sep), (3) Fall/Winter (Oct-Jan), and (4) Winter/Spring (Feb-May). This week, we'll be be putting away categories 3 and 4, totally out-of-sight and inaccessible to the kids. My hope is that we'll be able to keep the girls' rooms and our living spaces tidier on an ongoing basis. It's got to help, right?!
Last Friday, I had the day off work (my work as an employee, that is), and I woke up with a cold. Not how I wanted to start my three-day weekend! At least it's just me; the rest of my family is cold-free.
Friday, I spent much of day preparing a new free sampler for Bite-sized Scrapbooking. It includes the first three layouts issued for BSS in February. In those early weeks, I wasn't providing a sneak peek or a sketch, so I needed to create those elements for the sampler. Please go and download the sampler if you're interested! It will give you three inspiration layouts and a good idea of what subscribers receive.
When the kids were out of school, we all went to Cherrylane Greenhouse near Grand Coulee to shop for plants. Laurel came with us, too, while Bronwyn stayed at a friend's house. We all LOVE going to greenhouses. This is one of my very favourite things to do every spring. We hadn't been to this place before, and we went because I had purchased vouchers on SwarmJam. It was a lovely greenhouse and the people running it are super nice and eager to help. We had fun picking out a bunch of plants. I let the girls get whatever they wanted, so we'll have an eclectic variety of flowers! I'm very excited that I picked out seven perennials for our yard (one was Sophia's request, actually). I love perennials, but we don't have many. I decided it's time to start investing in perennials. I will write more about the plants we purchased in another post.
Saturday, I took Sophia to her piano lesson, then shopping for dressy sandals (for her piano recital) and a birthday gift for her friend. (She went to Haley's party later in the day.) The shopping took much too long but we came home with good purchases. Sophia's feet are the same size as mine and it was challenging to find sandals that weren't too high or too expensive. We found some at Walmart for $15.
It was mid-afternoon by the time I started working on Madeline's clothes -- my real plan for the day. Clothes, clothes, clothes. There's no end to them, it seems. Madeline is quite particular about her clothing, so she easily rejected about half of the clothes that were available to her (and those were separated into two piles: donate and keep for Georgia). The remaining third is still more than enough. Madeline's dresser and closet are full and we didn't even open any of the other three bins of 7/8 clothes in our basement. I'm still going to have to go through these soon because I would rather get rid of at least half of those clothes NOW, than have to go through six bins of 7/8 when Georgia gets to that size. Can you feel my pain? At least the job of going through Sophia's clothes will be much easier. She actually doesn't have that many clothes that fit her any more. I hope she has enough but we'll see about that next weekend.
*Okay, I need to insert here that we did not buy all of these clothes! In fact, we have purchased very little. In addition to a few gifts of new clothes (which the girls LOVE), we have received hand me downs from three families. Our girls are always overjoyed to receive these clothes and I am very thankful for them because we can't spend much money on children's clothing, but the price we pay is the considerable space they take up in our house and the time I spend sorting through them. I am not ungrateful; just slightly frustrated.*
I continued dealing with children's clothing on Sunday because we had a bunch of bags and piles and bins that contained a mixture of sizes. This photo shows just some of the 10s (which are too small for Sophia), 7/8s, 6X/7s, and 6/6Xs I sorted that day. But here's the best part: While I worked on this, I had the laptop set up so I could watch Penny De Los Santos teaching Food & Culture Photography on creativeLIVE. The course was three days long (May 13-15) and I only caught about 20% of the live broadcast over the weekend, but what I saw was absolutely riveting! Neil and I both wished we could see all of it, so we purchased the course for $99, which I think is incredibly inexpensive for 24 hours of video. Certainly a bit of a splurge, but now we can watch the whole thing on the TV downstairs whenever we want. I'm so glad I noticed a tweet from @thepioneerwoman about this course. After seeing Penny's short video, The Power of Food Photography, I just had to register. I don't really aspire to BE a food photographer; I'm just fascinated by Penny's photos and her approach to food and culture photography.
Meanwhile, Neil started cleaning the incredible disaster of a place we call Sophia and Madeline's room. (Neil got possession of the laptop when I had to spend some time dealing with the clothing/toy storage room downstairs.) We had not seen the floor in their room for quite some time, and he made some good progress on it before we all had to stop and get ready for the girls' piano recital. After the recital and supper, I continued working on the floor until it was finished, but I wasn't able to get to all the surfaces in their room before the girls' bedtime. I will try to squeeze this into my vacation week (next week) because it simply has to get done.
And where were the girls during all of this bedroom cleaning? Playing elsewhere and that's fine with me. In fact, I prefer they stay away; it's much easier to throw things out when they're not there to protest! Madeline did show up at one point and rescued several silly bands before they were swept into the dust pan. (I can't even imagine what it would be like to have carpet in the girls' bedrooms. Scary!) Although it seems easier to declutter without the kids' help right now, I know they need to learn how to do this -- and I'm not sure how to teach them -- so I am considering signing up for this class at Simplify 101: Organizing with your kids.
Sophia and Madeline's piano recital was at 4:45 p.m. on Sunday. It was a nice event, as always. This was our fourth one. Madeline (pictured below) played a solo on the piano (Autumn), played sand blocks in the rhythm ensemble (Waltz), and sang with several other children (MYC Theme Song). Sophia played a solo on the piano (The Greatest Show on Earth). She played so clearly and enthusiastically! It was great to hear! Unfortunately, she got stuck about 2/3 of the way through and couldn't finish. She got up, visibly upset, and came straight to me. Sadly, we hadn't brought her book along, so she couldn't refer to it.
The recital continued with another couple private students, and then Sophia's teacher asked if she wanted to try again. Sophia agreed. She played just as enthusiastically as the first time, and then... got stuck in the same spot again. :( Mrs. Young tried to help, but without the music for reference, they were both unsure what came next. What a bummer. We all learned a hard lesson about taking the book. We should have had it with us even though Sophia didn't think she needed it. Well, it won't happen again! It's over, and she's okay. (I think this helped a tiny bit: another private student had the same problem and he didn't have his book there either.) The thing is, she knew the song at home when no one was paying attention, but she was nervous about the audience. And the entire song wasn't quite etched in her brain. At the end of the recital, her teacher praised her for trying again, and several parents patted her on the back afterward, saying she was very brave. She is, and I'm proud of her, too!
On Monday (yesterday), Sophia participated in the track & field day at her school. She competed against other girls in grades 4 and 5, and came home with a fist full of ribbons: five 2nds, a 6th, and an 8th. The 2nds were in high jump, and the 60m, 80m, 200m, and 400m races. The 6th was in triple jump (she claims she thought it was a practice jump), and the 8th was in shotput. (A very determined and trained runner in grade 5 won 1st place in all the races.) Our niece, who's in grade 5, won 1st place in triple jump, 4th in high jump, and 7th in the 60m race. Sophia (and B) also had a 90-minute dance class Monday evening and she said her legs were burning in class. Not surprising, huh?!
Easter morning. The girls enjoyed their little indoor hunt for treats. I love that they automatically put everything on the table and divide it evenly before digging in. Madeline made a couple comments I enjoyed: "Mom, Mom! You know those plastic eggs we have? The Easter Bunny REUSED them!" and "The Easter Bunny didn't hide things very well. If I just STAND there, I can see a bunch of eggs." :)
Other life and family updates from this crazy month:
While the water levels were the highest we've ever seen in our city, Neil (with the Shop Vac and dehumidifier) managed to get ahead of the water seeping into our basement, and there's no more standing water in the yard -- thanks to Neil pumping it out regularly. Phew!
I completed and filed our tax returns on Friday, the 15th. It took longer and was more frustrating than I had hoped, but it's done and I'm confident it's correct. I used TurboTax online and thought it was excellent.
The girls are off school this week. They've been enjoying the sunny weather and playing outside with our neighbours' four children (who are moving this coming weekend). Neil also took them to the library and the Science Centre today. Sounds like they enjoyed being volunteers in the static electricity show!
I've been doing a lot of extra work for BSSthis month (beyond the usual weekly tasks) with three giveaways, graphic updates, website tweaks, and searching for new inspiration layouts. It's all good, but it takes time. I'll get back to my normal schedule soon.
I'm determined to get our house and yard in order (purged, organized, cleaned...) before the start of activities in late summer (last week of August), so I have planned what room or spot needs to be addressed each weekend from now until then. Other must-do tasks (such as monthly photo printing) are on the shedule, too. Two weeks into The Plan, and so far, so good.
Neil's dad went into the hospital with chest pain on Saturday, April 16, and they found he had a low blood oxygen level. After 10 days (and a bunch of tests, supplemental oxygen, and nebulizers), he was sent home with a sufficient oxygen level, no medications, and no explanation of the cause. It seems rather strange, but I'm very glad he's okay now.
For Easter, we were planning to go to Avonlea, but since Lou was in the hospital, Neil's Aunt Glenys invited us to her house for Easter dinner. It was lovely! Lou was able to get a day pass from the hospital on Sunday, so he and Donna came to our house for a short visit in the morning and they also went to Weisshaar's for dinner.
My mom and Aunt Janet stopped by our house on Sunday morning for a few minutes (en route from the airport). Also, I was able to meet Mom, Grandma M, Aunt Bev, Aunt Colleen, and Aunt Janet on Tuesday morning for coffee. It was great to see all of them!
I finished reading The Secret Garden to Sophia on Sunday evening. We LOVED it! (I was also reading it to Madeline, but she often fell asleep and I know she didn't hear the last chapter.) I bought this book three years ago at a small second-hand store. Now we'll have to see if we can find the movie from the '90s which was recommended to me.
"I love growing flowers in our garden. It makes me so very happy to see their beauty, observe their changes, and take pictures of them all summer long. I am thankful for flowers!"
I love this layout. It came together very quickly for me and I adore the subject. The design is based on "80" by Angie Lucas, which was the inspiration layout for Week 11 of Bite-sized Scrapbooking. Also, my colour scheme was inspired by a few pictures on my Colour Combos board on Pinterest. Thanks to this photo and a couple others, I had purple, green, and white on my mind, so I looked through my printed pictures until I found three flowers in shades of purple. I take a lot of flower photos, so it wasn't difficult!
This lovely star burst marks the spot where I fill my coffee cup every morning. I'm glad I found this motif during the week. I think it suits me -- I love circles. And coffee. :)
I've been wanting to post more frequently with shorter posts, but for some reason I'm having trouble doing that. I know it's partly because I'm doing more scrapbooking with BSS, but I still want to blog more often. I do so much better when I connect blogging to another commitment such as daily photos. The Picture Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter series were great for that, but I'm not prepared to do daily photos all year. I'm trying to come up with another device to help me write more regularly. Perhaps I'll take these classes. I'm intrigued!
Let's see, what has happened since the 10th?
Sophia has played three play-off games (ringette). They lost the first one, with Sophia in net. It was a pretty good game for the most part. The Sticks of Fury were down just 2-0 at the break, and it ended 9-4 with many of the goals happening near the end. Sophia's team won their second game, 10-7. Sophia scored two goals and had a nice assist in that one. That was a fun game to watch, and I was the scorekeeper. The third game was terrible. The Sticks of Fury lost badly to a team they had just defeated 10 days earlier (Mar 6). The final score was 13-6, but it was more like 20-6 (they only mark a 7-point difference during the play-offs, and it's only 5 during the regular season). Sophia's team was missing three players for that game, and two of them are top players. They play their fourth play-off game tomorrow on the 20th. Wish them luck!
Sophia and Madeline, and three other students at their school, performed a few Irish dances during assembly and later in their classrooms on March 16 (no school on the 17th or 18th). The girls were very excited to do this. They wore their Prairie Gael dresses, bubble socks, and gillies. Neil was there running the music for them. They're also performing at a nursing home this afternoon and at Spring Free From Racism tomorrow. We're always busy with performances the week of St.Patrick's Day and Spring Free (always near March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination).
Otherwise, it's been business as usual at work and home, with a sprinkling of scrapbooking excitement for me. I will write more about those things later. One thing I will mention, though, is that Bite-sized Scrapbooking now has subscribers in six countries: Australia, Canada, England, Japan, New Zealand, and United States. Isn't that cool?!
One of the biggest challenges I face with Bite-sized Scrapbooking is getting the message out there. Promotion is a continual task with a business like this. I'm happy to say that news of BSS is spreading, slowly but surely (my One Little Word, patience, is certainly applicable here!).
Online publicity or word-of-mouth is definitely one of the best ways to increase awareness. I'm very grateful for every single RT (retweet) on Twitter and for these mentions on scrapbooking blogs/websites:
Wendy Sue Anderson, who designed this week's inspiration layout (week 7), wrote about BSS on Monday: bite-sized...
Francine Clouden, who designed the inspiration layout for week 5, included my announcement in her Scrapbooking column at Craft Gossip: New Scrapbooking Service Launched
If you have a public blog and would like to help me spread the word, I would appreciate it so much! You can also pick up a blog bladge on the BSS website, if you like.
A very easy and great way to spread the news is to simply Like the BSS page on Facebook (many thanks to all who have done this already!) and then comment or click Like on any of the status updates I post there. I post quotes, tips, and links to freebies occasionally, so if you like anything I post, please let me know with a quick click!
I have placed some inexpensive ads as well. This Facebook ad, which ended yesterday, had a good click-through rate. It was very targeted to people who "like" Big Picture Classes, Ella Publishing, or Write. Click. Scrapbook. on Facebook.
For the past five months (October through February), we have been extremely busy. The busiest time of our life -- so far. (I won't say it can't get busier because every year proves otherwise!) With ringette (plus other activities), Christmas season, birthday season, building and launching BSS, and two weekend trips to Alberta (Edmonton in November and Medicine Hat in February), we have not had much time for regular household chores or projects -- and it shows. Oh, does it show. I can hardly stand it. I'm really itching to get some things done around the house, and I'm hoping to have more time for that in the coming months. But will I? Let's see...
Ringette is winding down. Sophia's team has just one practice and six games left on the schedule at this point (2 regular season and 4 play-off games), and perhaps another game or two if they advance. In any case, ringette will end in March, and this will be a significant change. I really love watching ringette but it will be great to get that time back! (Both Sophia and Madeline will play next season. We absolutely must get some house projects completed before October!)
The girls have a couple dance performances scheduled in March, so those are extra things on the calendar. And they will probably have a couple more shows before Mosaic, as well. Speaking of Mosaic, Neil and I will need to do some work to prepare the Children's Program. This begins in March as we look for discounted St. Patrick's Day craft materials. Also, I should start going to my dance class again if I'm going to dance at Mosaic. I had thought I would participate in a group dance, but now I'm on the fence about it. I really could use those Tuesday evenings!
Bite-sized Scrapbooking is moving along nicely. I have ongoing work to do for this, but it is not as time- consuming as the building phase. Plus, I'm making a layout every week. I love that!
I'm going to have to set aside some time to do our taxes, aren't I? Boo.
The girls only have ten piano lessons left! Their recital is in mid-May, and we need to do a lot more practicing over the next ten weeks. This has really been neglected the past few months.
I'm planning to get the 20th volume of my blog (September-December 2010) printed in a Blurb book this month. This always takes a few hours. And before long, I'll have January-April 2011 to do. I want to get caught up on this!
We have decided not to enroll the kids in any spring activities. We parents need a time and budget break, and I think the kids could use more spare time, too. I will put the girls in summer swimming lessons, though. Plus, we'll consider skating lessons or ringette camp, but maybe not until September.
I am taking a week off work in May (the week of Victoria Day). This will be the first time EVER that I will have a week off that we're not going somewhere. Seriously, I have never been off work AND home for an entire week! I am determined to stay home during that week. All I want is to do is tackle some house projects. I can't wait!
So, it looks like our calendar will still be quite full for March, but then April, May, and June (except Mosaic week) are looking pretty good, time-wise. The summer months should be great! There's always more yard work to do, but no evening activities, and (like the past two years) I'm planning to have every Friday off from June to mid-October.
The long weekend was fantastic! Family Day is my kind of holiday -- a day off work, totally free of obligations.
I felt much better all weekend (after having the flu).
Neil took the girls to the Science Centre and they really enjoyed the new exhibit, Maze-A-Palooza.
I accomplished some long-overdue tasks: went through my paper collection basket until I reached the bottom, thoroughly cleaned the upstairs bathroom, and Neil helped me purge and clean the inside of the fridge--a job that took a full three hours.
Neil went out with some of his friends he hadn't seen for a long time. They went to a steak night fundraiser for a Taekwondo club sending members to New Zealand for world competition. It's the club our friends' son (and national champion) belongs to, and the one Madeline went to in the fall. Madeline's teacher, Ms. Stone, 16x national champion, is going to NZ to compete.
I did some work on BSS and a few more people signed up (28 now!). I really enjoy working on this!
We only had three things on the calendar: Sophia's piano lesson, ringette practice, and a game. The Sticks of Fury won despite having only eight players, and Sophia scored one goal.
I made a scrapbook layout I love about Sophia's favourite songs right now.
All five of us watched E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial, which I rented from Blockbuster (along with Barbie - A Fashion Fairytale, Backyardigans - Singing Sensation, and Jonas Brothers -The Concert Experience -- quite reflective of my girls' ages and tastes right now). The girls weren't very enthusiastic prior to watching E.T., but they were riveted soon after it started. They didn't like the sad parts (tears were shed twice), but they liked the movie. I didn't even remember the sad parts! I saw E.T. in a movie theatre in July 1982 in Federal Way, Washington, with my brother and my uncle's girlfriend.
Last weekend, we all went to Medicine Hat for Sophia's ringette tournament, the Ed Horvath Interprovincial Classic. (Except Dash, who went to Laurel and Bronwyn's house for the weekend.) Epic blog post ahead.
We left on Thursday, February 10 after I got home from work. It seemed like a long drive that evening as it was dark, snowing off and on, and there was some drifting snow. We saw a few vehicles in the ditch between the divided highway. All had just gone in within minutes as their lights were still on. We were glad others had stopped to help. We arrived in Medicine Hat at the Travelodge about 10:30 p.m. (9:30 AB time). None of the kids had fallen asleep. We thought Georgia might since she wasn't feeling well, but she stayed awake, content watching DVDs. Once we got our things into the room, the girls all went to bed amazingly well. (In my experience, this never happens when arriving late to a hotel room!) As soon as they were asleep, I went to bed, too. Neil stayed up late playing cribbage with some of the other ringette parents.
***Friday morning, we were up pretty early and headed down to the breakfast room (complimentary continental breakfast) about 7:45 a.m. We had the place to ourselves. The girls were eager to go swimming, so when the pool opened at 8:30, we were ready. All five of us went in. The water temperature was great! Surprisingly warm. The waterslide was good (not too fast) and the pool was just the right depth for Madeline to stand with her head out of the water. She and Sophia had a great time sliding. Georgia wore her life jacket, but was still very unwilling to be on her own, so she stuck with me or Neil the whole time. I took her down the waterslide twice, and then she didn't want to go anymore (especially as Sophia pleaded with Georgia to let her take her down the waterslide). Just as we were all going to leave the pool, two of Sophia's team-mates came to the pool and asked her to stay swimming with them. Neil stayed to supervise and I took Georgia and Madeline to the room to shower.
Once I was all ready for the day and Neil and Sophia were back with the other two, I drove to Medicine Hat's local scrapbook store, Scrapbook Central. I wanted to tell them about Bite-sized Scrapbooking and check out their wares, of course! The store owner wasn't there, but I spoke to the lady working there and told her all about it. I left a few cards, too. I was quite nervous about this (I am so NOT a salesperson), but it went okay. I don't know if it will mean any business for me, but at least I tried. Scrapbook Central is a very nice little store, packed with good stuff. I shopped a bit and came home with a few sheets of paper, letter stickers, and labels that I love.
I got back to the hotel about 11:30 a.m., and we headed over to the Medicine Hat Mall to have lunch before Sophia's first game. A couple other families went there, too. The first game was at 1:45 p.m. vs. Indus Lightning at the Kinplex. The Sticks of Fury had a rough start. They were down 6 points before scoring and then outscored their opponent the rest of the game. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough and we lost 8-5. Sophia scored one goal in the first game.
All of the ringette tournament stuff was at this arena and we wouldn't be back, so we spent a bit of time feeding the raffle baskets, and buying a set of ringette mini sticks (2 sticks and a mini ring) and "Ringy," a soft toy (a ring with arms and legs) for Georgia. Plus, there was a cool sports photographry set up where they had dozens of photos of each girl in action, taken during the game, displayed on computer monitors (there were about 8 of them) where you could browse the photos and choose some for printing right there. There were a couple great shots of Sophia, so we bought an 8x10 with a small picture inset in the corner. It's a nice keepsake.
We went back to the hotel and many of the ringette players and little siblings played (or watched) mini sticks for awhile. There was a great space not far from our room that was just lined with chairs, with big windows for light and lots of floor space. It wasn't next to any hotels rooms, either. Perfect!
At 4:15 p.m., all of the ringette families gathered at Houston Pizza for supper. It was a good set up with all of the kids at a long table between two rows of booths where all the parents and coaches sat. From there, we went straight to the Family Leisure Centre (a very nice, new facility with an extra wide ice surface) for the girls' second game vs. Airdrie White Out. Sophia played goal for this game and they tied, 7-7. It was a great game and Sophia played well. We didn't know what to expect from these Alberta teams, and it was good to see that the Sticks of Fury were competing with them at the same level. Also, during the game, Georgia -- who had been coughing for a few days and wasn't quite herself, but didn't seem terribly ill at any point in time -- spread my coat out on the bench and went to sleep next to Neil. (Those arenas were so flipping hot, I rarely kept my coat on through the game!)
From there, we headed back to the hotel and the whole team went swimming. Madeline and Georgia also went in; Georgia with her life jacket. She didn't move around much and was happy when some of the big girls would hold her or hoist her up onto a platform to watch the others. Some parents went swimming, too, and many of us just watched. The kids had a lot of fun. The sound in that room was deafening! We got the kids to bed quickly after that, as they had an early game. I wasn't feeling great, so I headed to bed around 10 p.m., too.
***Saturday morning, we were up early agian and ate breakfast before leaving the hotel at 8:15 a.m. The breakfast room was very busy this time, mostly our team. Our first game was at 9:15 vs. Calgary Dynamite at the Family Leisure Centre. We thought this team might be tough as they were the only one in our pool to have won their first two games. Our girls had a super game. We scored four goals quickly before the other team scored, and the final was 14-4 (officially 11-4 as they only record a 7-point difference). I prefer close games, but I must admit, this was fun to watch. Lots of cheering from our part of the stands. Plus, one of the girls on our team (Savannah) scored her very first goal, and that is always exciting. Also, Neil won the game 50-50 -- $42! And it was the only 50-50 he had entered. Sophia got a tripping penalty during this game (it was accidental).
Between games, we went back to the hotel and just relaxed a bit. I tried to take a nap, but that didn't pan out. For lunch, we just ate some food we had in the fridge that Neil had brought along. The girls' fourth game was at 1:00 p.m. vs. Bow View Lightning at another arena, Hockey Hounds. One of the coaches asked Sophia to play goal for this game and she agreed. It was a close, tough, exciting game the whole way. And a very low score for Novice ringette. We parents cheered a lot! The final was 4-3, with the other team scoring the winning goal at 30 seconds remaining on the clock. Bummer! Oh well. Sophia had played very well and earned Player of the Game! I know she wishes they would have won that game, but she didn't get upset. The Sticks of Fury could not advance with their record, but they had a good tournament. (Once again, Georgia layed down on the bench next to me and went to sleep during the game!)
Straight from that game, we had prearranged to meet at the Family Leisure Centre where they have a wave pool and bigger waterslide. Most of the ringette families went. All five of us went in the pool. I wish I hadn't though. I wasn't feeling well and didn't really enjoy it. Plus, we had no towels! We had not planned on swimming anywhere except the hotel, so we didn't bring any and the towel rental price was ridiculous at the FLC. We made do with paper towels and the hair/hand dryer. Also, one of the coaches, Andrea, hit her head going down the waterslide and had to go to the hospital for stitches on the side of her forehead. That was too bad, but fortunately, she didn't have a concussion.
At 5:30 p.m., all of the ringette families met at the Buffet Medicine Hat for supper. Busy place and a huge selection of food, probably 2/3 Chinese food. The kids really enjoyed it -- many servings of Shirley Temples, chicken balls, and five colours of Jello were consumed! I was hoping for some lighter food at this point in the weekend, but for some reason, I did not restrict my choices to the salad bar.
Afterward, the whole ringette team went in the hotel pool again. Quite a scene! Madeline went in, too, but Georgia opted on her own to stay out this time. Many parents visited around the pool. Madeline had a great time this weekend playing with one of the other younger sisters (Skylar), and they were constant side-kicks at this point. After swimming, we set up a movie (Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2) in one player's room and the whole team and siblings settled in to watch and eat snacks. Meanwhile, a bunch of parents gathered in another room for drinks. When Georgia decided she'd had enough of the movie, I put her to bed and decided to go to bed, too. I couldn't believe it was only 10 p.m. It felt much later to me. Neil stayed up and got the other two to bed some time later -- after someone had complained about noise from the room where the girls were watching another movie. That was the end of that. Around 11:30, I think.
***Sunday morning, I couldn't move. I was sick. My head hurt and my body ached. Plus, I was coughing more. Lovely. I had not felt great all weekend, but this was beyond that. I had wanted to leave around 9:00 a.m., but it wasn't going to happen. At that time, Neil took the girls down to breakfast and I struggled to get into the shower. With Advil Cold & Sinus, I was somewhat functional by 10:00 and we were able to pack up and check out at 11. We stopped at the mall to buy lunch and Valentine's cards for the girls to write on the way home.
The highway was very good, and we made good time. The Valentines kept the girls busy for quite awhile. I had agreed to buy some Valentine erasers and tape, too, so in addition to writing the cards (I had taken their class lists along), they enjoyed taping the erasers onto the cards.
After that was done, I was able to nap for awhile. We got to Regina at 5:30 p.m. Our van was too full to pick up Dash and his crate, so we went straight home and then Neil took the truck to pick up Dash. I don't even remember the evening, except that I felt terrible, and I emailed my manager and co-workers to let them know I wouldn't be at work on Monday.
Other than Georgia not feeling 100% and me coming down with the flu (which kept me away from work and regular activities all week; sigh), it really was a great weekend. It was our first big out-of-town tournament experience as a family, and it was a lot of fun. We really like the other families of Sophia's ringette team and it was great to get to know them better. I love this ringette thing! I'm excited that Madeline wants to play next year, as well. :)
This is the layout I made from the first week of Bite-sized Scrapbooking instructions. I don't get the surprise factor on Friday like everyone else, but I had fun making it and love how it turned out. I'm definitely planning to play along every week! In the Flickr gallery this week, I asked members how the first week went and I'm getting wonderful feedback. :)
P.S. Layout design based on Girltime by Paula Gilarde. (I'm sorry I forgot to mention this originally. I guess that's what happens when I try to post something 10 minutes before I have to catch the bus for work!)
After Picture Winter, I joined a group called Prompt Addicts, formed by some of my Picture Winter classmates. It's free and there's just one prompt per week so I'm going to try to participate. So far, so good! The first prompt was hearts. I was rather surprised by the dark background in this photo because the room was pretty well lit (morning sun through the back door) and I used ISO 800. I like how it turned out, though. (These candies were given to us by a cousin who had too many after making a craft, I think. I tried one and I think crafting is the best use for them!)
We had a big day today. I was off work. Georgia and Henry (Neil's childcare child and Georgia's friend) were supposed to go to preschool this morning, but it was cancelled. I managed to get a little housework done, plus some work on BSS despite the power being out for a little while.
Sophia is playing in a ringette tournament in Regina this weekend and it started today. She got to miss school all afternoon. Her first game was at 2:00, and I had rescheduled her piano lesson to 12:30 today due to a ringette conflict tomorrow. I picked her up from school and took her to piano, then straight to her game. They didn't play their best and lost 9-2. Neil, Georgia, and Henry had come to watch, too. After the game, they picked up Madeline from school and went home. Madeline needed to practice her Slip Jig as she's performing in the Mid-Winter Ceilidh tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Sophia and I stayed at the Co-op Centre between games, where there are three ringette tournaments going on (three different age groups). L&B were there this afternoon, too, as Bronwyn was playing and Laurel was scorekeeping several games to raise funds for their team. Sophia played again at 5:45 against a team from Saskatoon. Neil, Madeline, and Georgia came to watch. Sophia had volunteered to play goal, much to our surprise (as she's always been clear about not wanting to do it). What a game! It was close all the way through and ended in a tie: 9-9. Nerve wracking! It was only Sophia's third time as goaltender and she did great!
In other news, the very first layout for the first week of Bite-sized Scrapbooking was posted in the gallery this evening! This is so exciting and rewarding for me. Love it! :)
With a -34 windchill today, I simply could not find any signs that spring is just around the corner! Inspired by a classmate in Picture Winter who shot the word "hope" in the palm of her hand (with some wonderful bokeh light in the background), I quickly composed my shot with American Crafts Thickers. I think it works for "glimmers of hope," heh? :)
We had such a full day today! I had to write out the logistics of who was going where and when. Sophia had a ringette game and scored a hat trick! All of her goals were in the last 10 minutes of the game, and her team won 10-7. I was scorekeeper for the game, too. Meanwhile, Neil took Madeline to a birthday party (Lauren) and was able to watch the second half of the game. From there, Neil took Georgia to a birthday party (Henry) and then went to the first Irish Club Mosaic planning meeting of the year. Sophia and I went home for awhile and then picked up Madeline, picked up Georgia, and joined Neil at the Irish Club potluck (same location as the meeting). Neil had prepared a Red Quinoa and Black Bean Salad (yum!) earlier in the day. We enjoyed a delicious meal, and got home before 8:00 p.m.
I also worked quite a bit on Bite-sized Scrapbooking today. I double-checked and scheduled all of the email messages for this week. I also answered some questions and sent out Flickr invitations. I'm very excited (and a wee bit nervous) about the first email going out tonight at 1:00 a.m.! Do you think I'll be able to sleep? I never sleep well on Sunday nights, so it doesn't look promising. Oh well!
Madeline made this large envelope to enclose her made-at-school Christmas gift to us. She was still in her phase of writing our names rather than mom and dad. I "lve" how she spelled love, too. :) (Sugarplum Paperie Painted Edges CU Overlays)
Sophia had ringette practice at 8:00 a.m. this morning and I was thankful that Neil took her (especially since she forgot her helmet at home and he had to drive back to get it!). I took Sophia to her piano lesson after that. Otherwise, it was a day of BSS work (fun!) and house work. Mom and dad brought Buffy (Dash's sister) to our house for the whole afternoon while they attended bison meetings. Neil also took Dash and the girls to our friends' house for a playdate with Chloe (dog) and Maren.
We're going to have to go out to get birthday gifts this evening, as both Madeline and Georgia have parties to attend tomorrow. I really wish I had dealt with the gifts earlier!
I took a quick stroll around our block today. Many details of winter around here! Once again, I was shooting in low light. Tough to get the colours just right.
What a day! First, Sophia turned 10! She has been looking forward to turning "double digits" for awhile now. At ten, she has grown up in so many ways, and yet she continues to be a spirited child at times. Sometimes it's tough to predict which version of her is going to appear. I guess that's the joy of pre-adolescence. No matter what, Sophia is an amazing girl and we're very proud of her!
The kids had no school today and I took the day off. The first part of the morning was pretty lazy. It was very nice that we didn't have to be anywhere. Mid-morning, Neil took the girls and Sophia's friend, Cyandra, to public skating at the Cooperators Centre. They were finished near noon, and Sophia went to Cyandra's house afterward. She enjoyed going in their outdoor hot tub. Meanwhile, Neil ran some errands and Madeline and Georgia stayed home with me. Neil picked up Sophia around 4 p.m.
I had been planning to launch Bite-sized Scrapbooking this weekend, but wasn't sure if it would be today or tomorrow. Well, I decided it was time! I tackled my launch to-do list and took the plunge. At 1:40 p.m., I sent out the launch announcement. It was very exciting! And then it was very stressful! I quickly realized the subscription process wasn't working correctly and I could not figure it out. I had done a lot of testing and it always seemed to work for me and Neil. It was very baffling, and I needed help.
I spent the next 2.5 hours troubleshooting the problem with MailChimp and PayPal (through online chat and phone). Thankfully, we figured it out and solved the problem! It's a long story, but basically when someone subscribed via PayPal it would send their email address straight to the mailing list -- and that wasn't supposed to be happening. And every time I had tested it, it worked fine because I was using a different email address than the one I use for my PayPal account. As far as I can tell, everything works now. What a relief!
So, it's official: Bite-sized Scrapbooking is open for business! And 10 people have subscribed already! I'm so glad I followed through with my idea and didn't let fear hold me back. It's such an amazing feeling! I can't wait to see all of the scrapbooking that gets done one bite at a time. :)
Back to Sophia's birthday... It was Sophia's choice for supper. She wanted hamburgers (made by Neil) and she wanted to make macaroni and cheese from scratch by herself. She used a recipe from her own recipe box, and it turned out very well! For her birthday cake, Neil made a confetti cake and Sophia made blue and pink frosting. She had wanted to frost the cake herself, so I let her do that, too. After supper and cake, Sophia HAD to practice piano. We were out of options for this week. She's working on "Happy Birthday" right now, so that was fun to hear on her birthday.
Sophia received her gift from us a couple of weeks ago. It was a new parka and ski pants set that she had picked out herself way back in September. When Sophia and I saw these sets at Costco and looked for her size, it was clear we'd have to buy it right then or there would be no size 10s left. She agreed to get it as a birthday gift and wait until her birthday. I decided to give it to her a couple weeks ago because the weather was dreadful and she needed new ski pants.
Last, but not least, this is my 2000th blog post! I think it's pretty cool to have this milestone coincide with my child turning 10 and launching a new business. What a day. WOW.
Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart - Unknown
Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice. - Anton Chekhov
You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. - Wayne Gretzky
You are getting your wants confused with your needs. - Stacy Julian's dad
We are weaving character every day, and the way to weave the best character is to be kind and to be useful. Think right, act right; it is what we think and do that makes us who we are. - Elbert Hubbard
I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter. - Blaise Pascal
Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.
- Cyril Connolly
To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of
to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
to leave the world a little better;
whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is the meaning of success.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson