Andrea's blog

6

A Week in the Life - Monday

I'm late to the party, but I'm jumping on board with Ali Edwards' challenge to document a week in my life. After seeing her album and everyone else's that participated, it inspired me to document a regular week in our life...no matter how boring it is! I may look back one day and dream of these laid-back days with only one kiddo.  I'm also writing a play-by-play of everyday, but I'll only bore you with the photos! :)
 
So here goes....Monday, October 13, 2008 looked a little like this:
 

1

Feeling Like Fall

Well, no, it doesn't really FEEL like fall (still SO hot here in Alabama), but at least it's starting to look that way.  I spent this afternoon making pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies (recipe courtesy of Heidi Swapp):
 

and these centerpieces/door prizes for my MOPS meeting tomorrow night:
 
 
Found the photo stands at Pier 1 and gussied them up.  Our theme this month is "photo booth", so I thought a photo strip of pumpkins was appropriate until people are able to fill the slots with their own photos.
 
 
0

Disney Scrapbook In Progress

This week, I've been a paper-piecing fool. Not because I like paper-piecing (because I don't really), but it seemed the most appropriate way to embellish my Disney photo album.
 
Instead of creaing a full scrapbook about our vacation (which could easily take me all year), I decided to use a 2-up photo album and just add in scrapbooked 4" x 6" cards to create titles, journaling, and embellishments mixed in with the photographs.
 
This week, I've been working on the cover, title page and sub-title pages (the album is divided by theme park). Since I might not get much farther for a while, I wanted to share my progress:
 
cover
 
Title Page
 
 
Here you can see how it's layed out in the book:
 
 
 

 
red polka dot epoxy alpha stickers by Making Memories
polka dot paper by Heidi Swapp
black Hopscotch alpha stickers by Doodlebug Designs
 
Now I need to go through and do several 4 x 6 journaling cards and embellishment cards and finish writing captions for the photos....haven't decided yet how I'm going to do all that, so it might sit a week or so while I think about it...
 
 
And finally, so that Ayla can look at the photos anytime she wants, I made her her very own Disney photo album that she has already spent hours pouring through and carrying around with her everywhere:
 
 
If you're looking for more Disney Album Ideas, Scrapjazz.com has several articles you might want to check out:
 
9

Inside my Freezer...

Inside my freezer, you will find 6 prepared meals, ready to thaw, cook, and eat.  I spent about 4 hours this afternoon preparing 7 meals and freezing them for later.  (Well, one we ate and one is in the refrigerator for tomorrow...so I guess technically 5 are frozen).
 
I'm testing out a few recipes from the book "Don't Panic - Dinner's in the Freezer".  A few years ago Ben and I bought a round of meals from Dish it Up in Rochester, which follows the same premise...spend one day preparing several meals, freeze them, thaw them and cook them when you're ready.  It's meant to help eliminate planning and prep time later on.  We weren't thrilled with the Dish it Up meals, but only because they were pretty bland and we like a little more spice and flavor in our meals.  Generally we liked having frozen meals ready to cook...as long as we remembered to thaw them in time!  So I decided to attempt the same thing on my own.
 
I don't know for sure yet that it's saved me much time, or money (because I didn't really buy all the chicken i used on sale...if there's a next time, I'll wait for a good sale first), but I'm really hoping that they'll taste great and I'll at least have some new recipes to throw into the mix.  I'm pretty tired of tacos, spaghetti, stir fry, and fajitas.  It seems like we've been eating the same things for 8 years.  
 
I felt a little bit like a chef must feel in a restaurant, trying to juggle lots of orders and keep track of ingredients.  And BOY was it hot by the end of the day!  Although the verdict is out on the final product for each meal until we eat it, the prep time went reasonably well.  Only one meal looks like a disastrous mess.  I just hope it tastes better than it looks.  :)  
 
On the menu (I'll try and post reviews as we eat them):
  • Chicken Cacciatori (will cook in crock pot)
  • Chicken Parisienne (also a crock pot meal)
  • Chicken Wellington (the messy one..it's supposed to be crescent roll wrapped stuffed chicken, but my chicken wasn't flat enough to roll and the dough was getting warm and unmanageable)
  • Cheesy Chicken (basically parmesan chicken)
  • Spinach and Mushroom Manicotti
  • Baked Ziti (recipe not from the book)
  • and tonight's meal: Crustless Spinach and Mushroom Quiche (recipe also not from book)
 
 
The Quiche was SO good and very easy to make.  So my first attempt at a new recipe (although not from the book and not really a freezer meal),  was a huge success.  Even Ayla ate spinach and mushrooms without realizing it. :)
 
So now I'm hot, tired, and need a bowl of ice cream. I think I burned a lot of brain calories today! 
 
btw...the last time I was pregnant, I had a sudden domestic urge to cook too, which is very uncharacteristic of me. So I guess we'll all enjoy it (with the appropriate amount of trepidation) while we can!
 
 
11

Locks of Love (again)

Saturday morning, Rachel and I went to get our haircut while we were in Auburn visiting. For whatever reason, we both found a hairdresser we like there, so anytime we're in Auburn, we go back to her. I haven't even bothered looking for someone in Birmingham.
 
I decided I was tired of my ponytail and ready to give it away and start over....so I donated 10" of hair to Locks of Love. This is the second time I've done it. I donated 10" about 3 1/2 years ago as well.
 
I figured that while I'm pregnant and taking pre-natal vitamins it was a great time to get it all cut off...because it'll grow back pretty fast. I'm loving my new haircut, and I don't miss the ponytail at all.
 
She had to straigten it the day I cut it to make sure it was all even and cut correctly, but I'm not thrilled with the "after" photographs here. It looked better to me in the mirror than these photographs portray: It looks too mushroom-y. I probably won't wear it THIS straight unless I'm flipping the bottom out, instead of in.
 
 
 
However, I DO like the curly version and will likely wear it this way most of the time because it's SO easy:
 
 
I think it makes me look older, but Ben insists it makes me look younger. Probably because this is what I looked like just before we started dating at 15 years old.
 
 
Ben used to carry this photo of me in the dashboard of his car. Guess it's a style he liked. :)
4

The Money Shot - Cinderella's Castle

After a great week at Disney World, and lots of fun taking photos, these are my favorite "artsy" pics from the week:

 

 

 

 

I decided to carry all of three of my lenses with me since I don't have one multi-purpose lens, and ended up using them all, so I'm glad I did.  I can definitely see a benefit to a large range lens though...I was wishing for an 18-200mm zoom several times just for convenience of not having to change lenses.  Instead of that huge investment, I decided to buy a camera bag from Sam's that was the perfect tote bag all week for all my equipment (as well as plenty of diapers, wipes and snacks!). 

0

"Through the Years" Album

I finally got around to starting and catching up on an album project I've had planned for a while now that I wanted to share.

Instead of creating separate scrapbooks for Ayla (or any future kids) each year, I've decided to do a layout-per-year in her own album that she can have when she is 18. Then I'm able to scrapbook at my own pace and about anything I feel like scrapbooking for my own annual family albums, but I'll know that she'll have a cohesive album of her childhood completed when she graduates from high school. So, now that Ayla is 2, it was time to get started on her book.

I decided to use a 9" x 9" spiral album by Heidi Swapp that I got at the Scrap Etc. 06 event but had never used. It came with the perfect amount of page protectors to get her through all 18 years, so it was a great match.

I tried to keep the album very simple with a letter to Ayla and notes about the year on the left side and a collage of monthly photos on the right. I may keep the same format all the way through, or I may change it up some as she grows and different things are important. For instance, who knows if I'll have photos of her from every month the year she turns 12. And I won't always want to write a letter, so I might do a timeline of milestones or activities from throughout that year, etc. We'll just see how it grows. (you liked that, didn't you...see how it "grows").

Here's how it's come together so far:

 

 

The journaling didn't scan well, but you can read it better in real life than the way it seems to show up here. Although I am a little concerned about the patterned paper being a little too busy. Oh well, I suppose I can re-do those at some point if they really end up bothering me!

I made the photo collages in Photoshop. Each individual photograph is 2" x 2", and the bottom photo is 2" x 4" (of her actual birthday each year). So the final photo collage is 8" x 8" that I enlarged to a 8" x 10" canvas to have printed at Snapfish. Then I just trimmed off the extra two inches when the print arrived to make it a square print. I saved the original Photoshop file so that each year I can just plug new photos into the same template.

I'm a big fan of month-by-month and year-by-year albums, so this is a great way for me to feel "caught up" and not overwhelmed by having to do too much. Basically, it's what Keeps scrapbooking fun for me...instead of if feeling like a job or responsibility.

3

90210 is a no-go...

Okay, so I HAD to watch the new 90210.  I mean I did watch EVERY SINGLE episode of the original 10 seasons....most of them several times in re-runs on the Soap Network.  So as a devoted fan, I owed it to the zip code to watch the new version.
 
But, I gotta say...I give it a thumbs down and will not allow myself the stress of having to record the show each week.  While it was fun to recognize the West Beverly news anchor as "Hannah Zuckerman-Vasquez" (aka Andrea & Jesse's daughter), and "Silver" (aka Erin Silver, Kelly & David's half-sister), and to see Nat, and Kelly, and Brenda etc...the new cast didn't engage me enough to hang on and find out little tidbits about Donna and Steve and Brandon and Dylan, etc.  Although...I do admit to being intrigued about "Sammy" possibly being Brandon & Kelly's son...ooh, juicy!  But not enough to keep me tuned in.
 
Maybe I'm naive and I'm the first to admit that I watch some trash television on occasion, but I was not thrilled with the constant underage drinking, cursing, and sex shown blatantly in the first two episodes.  We actually put Ayla to bed earlier than we had planned because just having her in the room with us while we were watching made us uncomfortable.  The old 90210 dealt with those issues, but in this version, everything seems to be portrayed as "normal" for 15 and 16 year olds.  If that's true, God help our kids!  I know things are different now, but this seems to be over the top.  
 
I *could* watch the new show every week, purely for the old 90210 connections, but it would be hard for me to get excited about the new group because I'm constantly waiting for story updates on the old class of 1993.  Wow. 1993.  Seriously.  Maybe I'm just too old to watch teeny-bopper soap operas!
 
So, I guess instead of 90210 I'll continue watching the slightly more adult shows like Samantha Who? and Lipstick Jungle and leave West Beverly High School behind.   
 
3

10 Things to Miss (or maybe not) About the 2008 Olympics

Just as I promised at the beginning of my Olympic Fever, we managed to watch nearly every aired Olympic event on NBC for two weeks straight.  Our couches are well worn and the end table is nice and cluttered with glasses, snack crumbs and empty bowls of ice cream to prove it. 
 
 
We concluded the two-week long binge with the closing ceremonies last night, and I admit to being a little sad it was over.  I felt sort of like I'd been through all the events and visited Beijing right along with the athletes (but of course without four years of intense training under my belt).
 
So, now that they're over, here's what we'll miss (or maybe not) about the 2008 Olympics:
 
10.   running to the TV at 6 p.m. every night to see what was on the lineup, even though we had both already checked online hours ahead of time.
 
9.   realizing how young, determined, and focused all those athletes are and wondering if in the end, they all think the time and sacrifice was worth it.  I imagine they felt it was.  As for me, I dunno if it would be.  I'll bet they all wake up before 7am on a daily basis--I don't (and won't).  So that probably counts me out of the running in  the "determined and focused" category.
 
8.   the diving competition's lady commentator's incessantly negative and demeaning comments.  She got the mute button at our house.
 
7.  calculating the height of the building needed to train for the trampoline-ing events.  An airplane hanger might not be tall enough....seriously.
 
6.   Morgan Freeman's voice-overs in daily-changing VISA commercials, based on event results.  He must have made 20 different voice-overs for the ads before the Olympics even started.
 
5.   trying to figure out what Misty May-Treanor's roman numeral 5 tattoo was all about...is she really THAT obsessed with Jason Kidd?
 
4.   eating Chinese food in honor of Beijing...chinese food we were able to get at the grocery store in the US...not scorpions on a stick thank-you-very-much.
 
3.   Ayla pointing at the TV and asking to eat dinner in front of it so she can watch the "wimpics".
 
2.   seeing Nastia Liukin shoot dagger eyes at her competitors throughout the competition.  I've never seen anyone so set on winning.  The girl might want to expand her horizons a little bit now that she's got the "queen" status.  I'm proud she won, but she was a little intense.
 
1.   slow motion replays of Michael Phelps' gorilla-style victory yell.
 
I could go on and on (about Usain Bolt, the relay races, marathon water-bottle throwing insanities, and more), but either you watched it and know it all, or you didn't and this means nothing to you. 
 
So, here's to London 2012, and to hoping for a HDTV mega screen to watch it all on!
1

Hands-On Photo Cube Puzzle

 

Remember this? Here's the finished product, and the article telling how to make it:

 

 

Each side of the cubes makes up one of six 9" x 9" layouts. Here are all the layouts:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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