Kids Book Corner

  • Goose Girl
  • Mrs. Frisby and The Rats of NIMH
  • Peter and The Shadow Thieves
  • Peter and The Star Catchers
  • Simon Bloom, The Gravity Keeper
  • Stella Brite and The Dark Matter Myster
  • The Island of The Blue Dolphins
  • The Phantom Toll Booth
  • The School Library Journal
  • The Sisters Grimm
  • Tuck Everlasting


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Wednesday, the First

Oh, no applause! I know the title is clever!

Here is a layout of my little nephew, Elliott. That is my arm holding him. I'm no hand model, but my arm does have a distinctive kind of charm and safe kind of look to it...don'tcha think?

Solid Paper from Simply Irresistable kit by Gina Cabrera
Patterened Paper from Midnight in the Garden by Kay Miller
Frayed Fabric Edges by Fhung Lie
Crayon Doodles by Ida
Taped Journal Doodles by Kate Hadfield
Doodle Alpha and Reverie freebie by Weeds and Wildflowers
Baby hang tag by Shabby Miss Jenn (found at DDE)
All Dressed Ribbons by Jennifer Barrette at OAKS
Font: DJB WENDYPscript by Darcy Baldwin at The Digichick

::::::::::::::::::Check Up::::::::

I'm taking Noah to the doctor's for his annual physical. He wondered if he was going to the teeth doctor (dentist) or the body doctor. I told him it was the body kind. It won't be our primary care physican because our vacation interfered with that appointment, so I rescheduled and got Dr. Washington. I hope this doctor is as great as our regular doctor, Dr. Pugel. I don't know if he is supposed to get shots today, but I do have to ask about his facial ticks...which, by the way, he denies he has. He was blinking mid-denial last night. What a goober!

::::::::::::::::::Layout Makin' Time:::

I'm off to create a new layout with a new kickin' font by Darcy Baldwin at The Digichick. The new font debuts tomorrow.


Here Comes Peter Cottontail...

Yes, folks we have a nest of baby bunnies in our yard. As I was mowing the Fire Ant Georgia yard I ran over a patch of ground that resembled an abandoned fire ant mound. I glanced back thinking that I had dodged the horrible prospect of flying angry fire ants hitting my bare legs to see the ground quiver. I cut the motor to the lawn mower and went back to look again. Indeed, the ground was quivering under the thin layer of soil. I went to grab one of the sticks I had collected from our Wild Cherry Tree and went about gently removing the soil. Underneath was a bunch of loose fur and little creatures with brown bodies, a stub tail and oval ears flattened to their heads. I called for Aaron to ask Michael what to do. He said leave them alone and cover up the nest. He checked them out when he got home from work and verfied that they were bunnies. At this point we are going to live and let live. Here is a site with photos of exactly the same stage as our bunnies:

Photo of baby Cottontails.

:::::::::::::My Mom...the Cyclops:::::

Text: My Mom...the Cyclops!

Her name is Victoria.
She is always the one with the camera. Thanks to my mom I get to see me on my birthday, vacation and just being silly. My favorite thing is to make funny faces. Mom just laughs.

Love, Noah
the Cyclops Boy!

Lovin' Life kit by Kay Miller
Backward Staple by Jenn Patrick
Word Bits by Kate Hadfield and Tiff Brady
Journaling Doodles by Kate Hadfield
Date Stamp by Amber Clegg
Doodle Alpha by Weeds and Wildflowers
Fonts: DB Doodl E Doo, DB POOJA, DB CONNORBUCK by Darcy Baldwin at The Digichick


I decided to tackle the yard, yesterday, rather than the inside. What do I get for my efforts? My yard looks 100% better. I am no longer in the running for Trailer Park Weekly. I was a lawn mowin'...weed eatin' fool. Michael came home and finished up my odds and ends because I ran out of gas, literally and figuratively. Today is appears I may have poison ivy...AGAIN! on my ankles, or some fire ant bites. My pointed out that it may be a combination of the two. HAPPY! HAPPY! JOY! JOY!
Today, the inside of the house!


Monday, July 30, 2007

Just Wanted to Pass This Along:

My kids showed me this crazy fun game: Flight of the Hamsters

In the Eyes of a Child...

Text: "Educate and inform the whole mass of the people...They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty".

Thomas Jefferson

It is my hope that my son Noah will understand the need to uphold our liberties.

Background Papers and Frame: Vintage Backgrounds 1 by Nancy Comelab,
BookPlate Alpha, Glitter Splats, Grunge Tags, Punched Word Art and Ziggity Zag Stitches by Christina Renee,
Doodle Star and Circle Stitching: Weeds and Wildflowers,
Backward Staples: Jenn Patrick,
Date Stamps: Amber Clegg,

Fonts:Bulky Refuse,
DJB MESSIE AMANDA by Darcy Baldwin at The Digichick

::::::::::::::Rachel is Finally Home:::::

Rachel has been hanging out with her cousin Haley at my stepmom and dad's house. She had a great time. She stayed up reading last night and will probably sleep until noon. She is a night owl.

We had a delicious Southern meal for dinner when we went to pick Rachel up. Alice had prepared cooked carrots, yellow sqaush with onions, broccoli and cheese, cooked cauliflower, and my dad had smoked some ham. Eve at the equivalent of 3 regular carrots and wanted me to cook some when I got home. I told her that was enough carrots for the day. The drive home was a rainy one, but our area is in a rain deficit so I just turned my lights on and was thankful for the rain.

::::::::::::::::Real Christianity::::::

This book was and is a call to action from William Wilberforce who wanted people to stop living what he called "Cultural Christianity" and live "Authentic Christianity". Wilberforce speaks strongly for taking action in your life to show you discipleship for Christ and not simply showing up on Sunday as the only sign of your faith. He also speaks with joining your efforts to change the world for the better with others from other denominations and faiths. He calls for every individual to evaluate themselves and make what ever improvement necessary to follow the path set out in the Bible for "authentic Christianity".
The end notes in the book help explain the social and political atmosphere of the time, so the reader can understand the context of some of Wilberforce's statements. The book has not lost its voice in the almost two hundred years since it written. Though our religious denominations are different I think evaluating self and finding ways to put into action the teachings of Christ put us in a similar mindset. I recommend this book.

:::::::Off to Clean::::

the house.


Sunday, July 29, 2007


***excerpt from "Which hobby best suits your personality?
From exploring the great outdoors, preparing exotic cuisine or persuing the hundreds of TV channels from your multi-media center, the options for leisure time in the modern world seem limitless. So, what's right for you? Take this quiz and find out which hobbies best suit your personality."

Leisure Quiz

Here is my result:


Life is a journey, and you take the time to smell every single rose along the way. Your brain is a sponge, soaking up every detail of life around you, and you constantly look inward to figure out the ties that bind you to the universe. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it's what makes you tick. You might like hobbies like participating in archaeological digs, botany, assembling models, playing the stock market, meditation or even parapsychology.

:::::::::::::::::I Woke Up To This E-mail, Yesterday::::

Good morning.
Well we've had an exciting night so far. We pulled into Sandrock at about 8:00 and set up camp. Not too many people up here . Just a couple of climbers and one group of rednecks off in the woods.
At about 1:30 I get woken up to the sound of the scouts yelling "forest fire!"
So I got dressed and grabbed the water jug and started over towards the flames that were going 40 feet into the air. Somebody had set fire to the jiffy johny that the Climbers Coalition had paid for and it was spreading to the trees around it. I quickly realized that this was much bigger than I could take care of so I called 911.
I did my best to control the perimeter with the little water I had. My biggest concern was the trees that were burning 30' above me. As I continued to do my best to keep the perimeter, which was now about 50' across, under control I noticed that several places got worse when I put water on them. This was a gas fire. Somebody had put gas in the john and set it on fire. The whole time I was doing this I had one shirtless, missing a few teeth, redneck shadowing me insisting that I not call the police. When I told him that they were already on there way he got defensive and even accused me of starting the fire. To which I told him, "You might want to go back to camp and lay low for a little bit. When the firemen show up they'll see me, sober and trying to contain this and you, drunk, just standing around and they'll draw their own conclusions." He threatened to kick my @$$ a couple time but his slightly less drunk buddies convinced him it wasn't a good idea. I had 8 scouts standing around who were pretty sure that there was gonna be a "tussle". I think Hyrum had actually placed a bet on it. Nothing came of it. I just kept assuring then that I hadn't accused anybody of anything. I just wanted to get the fire out before it got any worse.
After about 20 minutes of my futile efforts the local volunteer fire department began to show up. First on the scene was a good old boy with his two young daughters who showed up in his Camaro. I was a little concerned until I saw that he was wearing his turn-out gear. In a matter of minutes there were three firetrucks on the scene and about twenty of Sand Rock's finest quickly got it under control. I told them what little I knew about how it could have started and they said they'd send up a deputy to make a report. I shook all their hands and thanked them for getting here before it got any worse. So far I haven't seen a deputy yet.
Conspicuously absent from the last half hour was my inebriated friend and his buddies. Perhaps picking a fight with the one guy who was trying to put the fire out wasn't such a good idea now that there were so many firemen on the scene.
Oh well. That's the excitement so far. I'll call you in he morning and give you a full report. Hopefully our day of climbing will not be marred by the event.
I love you.
Michael Taylor

What an interesting trip! I was up at the same time scrapbooking and reading because nobody was home.

::::::::::::::::Shutterfly Album::::::

Carol asked if a Shutterfly Album would be forth coming and the answer is indeed!

I am working on two. One will be our vacation and the other the family reunion.

Later gators!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Cool News and Things!

My goal in this layout was to help the kids remember the scope of our two week educational vacation adventure. I think it turned out really fun!

Background paper: True North by Anna Benjamin at Paper Moons
Travel Journal Stamp by Sande Krieger at 2 Peas
Vehicle Doodles, Doodle Arrows, Stitched Arrows, Wordy Bits (also by Tiff Brady), Journaling Doodles, Water from Summer Collab kit at TLP by Kate Hadfield
Don't Be Negative Strips by Gina Miller
Taxi Cab by Tara Sroka Designs
Font: Cheapskate Fill

A Bit Bigger:

::::::::::::::::::Souvenir Photos from our time in New York City:::::::

:::::::::::::::::::Shakespearen Insults::::::::

If you are in a super quirky mood and feeling like a need to know some high brow English insults check this out: Shakespearen Insult generator.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Don't Fret it's Friday!

I just thought this was kind of twisted enough due to all of the doping problems in the bicycling community.

::::::::::::::::Layout from our Family Reunion:::::::

My niece, Corinna, with her dad. He was trying to comfort her with a few tunes on his guitar.

Background paper: A Beautiful Mess by Lisa Whitney
Doodle Alpha: Weeds and Wildflowers
Glitter, Punch Label Alpha and Old Proof Sheets: Christina Renee
Backward Staples: Jenn Patric
Date Stamp: Amber Clegg,
Rubberbands: Kate Hadfield
Font: DB Michael by Darcy

Another page for our visit to Monticello, Virginia:

Lovin' Life kit by Kay Miller
Cluster Frames by Nancy Comelab
Squiggle Fleurs by Jen Wilson
Felt flowers by Kate Hadfield
Font: Jefferson, DJB Elicia by Darcy at The Digichick
Doodle Alpha and Flower Frenzy by Weeds and Wildflowers

::::::::::::::::::Mexican Food:::::::

was our choice for dinner last night. Michael and I took Aaron out for a late dinner. What a quiet table without the other munchkins. I pick them up today for a granny swap. Tonight they will spend the night at my mom's house because it is Granny Sue Friday!!!...where the kitchen is open late and you can get grits for any meal!

::::::::::::::::::Harry Potter:::::::

Michael has the book now. There is a friend at work itching to discuss the details, but no one else has finished the new book. So Michael grabbed the book and got through about a hundred pages or so.

::::::::::::::::::Rock Climbing::::::

Michael and Aaron are running off to Mt. Yonah in North Georgia for a Scouting camp out and rock climbing trip. Aaron recieved his Climbing Merit Badge and should be able to help Michael with training the other scouts.

:::::::::::::::::Vacation Layouts::::

need to be worked on, so off I am and off I go!


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Among the Throng:

As of 1:15am. I finished The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling.

I will reveal nothing about the outcome of Harry Potter. I have to say that hands down Ron Weasley delivers the best lines of the book. I qualify that be adding that I like sarcastic and a bit irreverent humor. But I thought I was going to lose it during a scene with Mrs. Weasley when she made an impassioned statement similar to Sigourney Weaver in "Aliens 2". If you are a sci-fi fan that scene from "Aliens 2" will probably stand out to you. Anyway, J.K. Rowlings use of imagery helps this book flow from situation to situation and taking us along with our hands clasped tightly as if holding onto Harry's robe as he disapparates. Though the book is somber in nature Rowling throws in enough light hearted moments that act like their own patronus keeping the dementors at bay. I find that Rowling is a wonderful writer of human nature and allows those with flawed characters, **warts and all, find those moments of heroism and chose to act. The words sacrifice, nobility, humility, friendship and love come to mind when I think underlying threads that tie these characters together and allow Rowling to weave such a wonderful tapestry of characters. I recommend this book!

**I had to do that!

::::::::::::::::::Voting Quiz::::::::

This was a quiz Michael found as he was trying to determine how each candidate stood on the issues. I thought is was interesting and sometimes surprising who ended up on my list. If you want to take your own quiz to determine candidates that share your perspective here it is: VOTE MATCHING QUIZ OF 2008

::::::::::::::::::Off to Upload::::::

more family photos!


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Take Joy in Small Wonders:

Background Papers: Write it Down from Little Dreamer Designs and 9th Avenue by Iron Orchid Designs,
Felt Buttons: Big Boy Buttons by Natalie Braxton
Staples: Backward Staples by Jenn Patrick
Vintage Frames: Katie Pertiet/ Jessica Bolton
Tape: Kate Hatfield
Date Stamp: Amber Clegg
Punch Alpha: The Powers Sisters
Cardboard flowers: Little Lauren Lalas by Amanda Rockwell
Doodle flowers and Metal Flowers: Kate Hadfield
Primary Rubberbands: Kate Hadfield
Black Journal Paper: Dear Diary by Erica Hite
flourish doodle: Reverie Add-on by Weeds and Wildflowers
Fastener: Collectibles 1 by Sausan Designs
Wordy Bits Alpha: Kate Hadfield and Tiff Brady
Torn and Curled Paper Edges: Jen Caputo
Fonts: DB Michael by Darcy at the Digichick, Hello Sark, Taylor Makenzie

::::::::::::::::::Current Reading List::::::

The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

The Lucifer Effect by Phillip Zimbardo

The Sisters Grimm book 4 by Michael Buckley

I'm on the last three pages of my book by William Wilberforce and will try to give a review in a couple of days.

::::::::::::::::::All Quiet on the EASTERN Front::::

Michael and I took Rachel, Noah and Eve to spend the night at my stepmom, Alice's house. My dad and Alice just got back from a mission trip to Montana. Alice said Glacier Park was amazing. Rachel will also get to play with her cousin Haley. The girls are the same age and love to be giggly together.

Aaron is at a sleepover at his friend Jacob's house. I pick up up at 5 tonight so he can go to Scouts.

Hmmmm...what to do with myself...READ or clean...Oh, what a quandry ;)! Reading wins, so until later lovely people!


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The "Daddy of the Day" Award Goes to...

Michael! Yes, folks he wins the prize for two astounding feats of love and talent.

Michael felt bad that Rachel was having to go around with everything blurry, so he ran over to the opticians on his lunch break with her broken glasses. The glasses were still under warranty, so the manager popped the lenses into a similar frame. Michael decided to take them right home rather than wait until after work, so Rachel could do what she loves!
You will also notice in the photo that Rachel is popping a piece of fudge in her mouth, but it isn't just any fudge folks! NO! It is PERFECT FUDGE! Michael promised the kids that on Family Home Evening he would make fudge. True to his promise this confectionary miracle was brought forth! This morning Noah said..."Mom, you've got to try these! But ya' know his brownies are just as good!"

paper frame by Sausan, arrow doodles by Kate Hadfield

:::::::::::::::Rachel Got Caught::::::::

reading that is! A little while after Michael went back to work and I was putting away laundry I saw that Aaron's bedroom door was closed. I wondered if the kids had taken Jasper the ferret into play. I cautiously opened the door and Rachel was lying on the floor next to the bedroom window. She gave me a guilty look. I laughed at her when I realized she was reading ahead in our family reading book. I told her she could continue reading if she promised not to tell anyone what she read, didn't look board during reading time and didn't read the ending first. With her word given I went to call my mom and Michael to quiz them what they thought Rachel might be caught doing. My mom just laughed and Michael said reading right away. I love that bookish girly!

::::::::::::::Will Try Again:::::::

today to upload vacation photos to our family website. The photos are on Michael's laptop and he takes it with him to work and by the time he got home I had to run off to the store and buy school supplies, then home for family time and there is this thing called "SLEEP" calling my name. So, perhaps today will be the day?!?!

****Warning: Serious post ahead!

::::::::::::::The Lucifer Effect::::::::

I have only been able to finish the first chapter, so far, but I am so impressed with the well thought out and expertly presented material in this book. Phillip Zimbardo ask two questions that he wants the reader to ask themselves in the first chapter. The first question is: "Am I capable of Evil?". The second question comes at the end of the chapter: "Are you capable of becoming a hero?".

Zimbardo used M.C. Esher's "Circle Limit IV also titled "Devils and Angels" to illustrate the point that there are good and evil co-exist.
He also makes the point with the illustration that angels can become devils and that devils can become angels. He looks at the world through a situational lens as opposed to a dispositional one. He sees the dispositional lens limiting because it looks for the root cause within an individual instead of looking at the situational variables that act on someone that inturn creates behaviors.

He pointed out that using the word "animal" to describe another human being effectively dehumanizes them and then what what happens to them by your own hand, or that of another is of no consequence. And disturbingly a person only has to over hear someone else make a reference to a person or group as an "animal" for it to change their mindset. Zimbardo uses examples from the atrocities in Rwanda and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq to explain how quickly murder, rape and humilitating another human can change our outlook to cold calculating depravity.

Zimbardo promises to offer ways to guard ourselves against making the choice to do evil at the end of the book. He states, "we can become wise and wily consumers instead of being easily influenced by authorities, group dynamics, persuasive appeals, and compliance strategies." (p.21). He believes we can all be heros in the right situational moment.

One of the strongest impressions I recieved from this first chapter was that inaction is evil just as an action. I was also touched by the excerpt from Paradise Lost John Milton that was used in the beginning: "The mind is its own place, and in it can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven."

There is so much to think about and my heart is heavy with the dark parts of humanity...if you can call it humanity when we act so horribly to one another. I like to remember the admonition of the Savior recorded in John 13:34 " A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another".

Monday, July 23, 2007

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity, Jig:

We have arrived home...again! We were a bit soggier and a lot sandier, but none the worse for wear. I, however, did break Rachel's glasses on Friday night and she had to go through Saturday and Sunday a bit blurry. Michael is taking her glasses by Sear's Optical today to see if they can be repaired. I took a slew of photos and some video at one point had filled up my 1 gig card and my batteries had run out. I borrowed my sister-in-law, Laura's, Nikon D40 and played around for a hundred, or so photos. My sister-in-law, Lettitia, had a bunch of fun crafts for the kids to do: puppets, design your own frisbee, bracelet making, and foam photo frames. The children put on a puppet show with their creations on Saturday. My brother-in-law, Reuben, helped the everyone tye dye shirts (onesies for the baby boys). My BIL, Stephen, did a quick tutorial with Reuben on creating spirals, then started helping anyone who wanted that pattern, too.
The weather over the 3 days was mild a sunny. We did have spotty showers, but nothing heavy until time to break camp. Michael and I had our campsite cleared and stowed right after breakfast. Stephen had his family do the same because he had a flight to catch for work. After we were done with our stuff Michael and I helped out by babysitting the cute nieces and nephews. I got to hold the newest addition to the family, baby Elliott. I walked him around in the baby sling, then let him sit in my lap looking at all of the activity until he fell fast asleep for 3 hours. Michael played with Spencer who was absolutely sweet and watching the other kids play in the sand. He never slept and never fussed. Michael, at the same time, held Corinna. She had recieved a bite to the arm by her twin sister, Dakotta, and needed some TLC. Michael held her and she fell asleep for a couple of hours. There was only one tent still set up when the heaviest rains came, so everyone took refuge for about an hour under the tarp in our common family area that was set up on the first day. During a lull the last of the tent was put away. The rain picked up again, but we got the main tarp down and made sure the campsite was clean. On the way out I saw a penny (heads up...good stuff) and at a campsite that wasn't ours, or any one's for that matter, there was a plastic knife on the ground and right next to the knife was a dime. Boy howdy, I was eleven cents richer!

The family reunion was held at Duckett's Mill on a little peninsula jutting out into Lake Lanier. Their was a lot of shore line exposed due to low water levels. The kids spent their time picking up the shells of the fresh water clams and digging in the Georgia red clay. All of the kids loved swimming, even Eve who had to be rescued TWICE! The first time Eve had trouble in the water Michael was on the shore watching the kids. Eve was even wearing a life preserver that had a little bit of bouyancy, but not much. I guess since the shore has a staggered plateau effect she must have stepped down to deep, or a wave hit her. I heard her crying out for daddy. I know the sound of distress in her voice, so I took off running to the shore from our tent. By the time I got to the ridge overlooking the shore Michael was coming up the path with Evey. She had swallowed some water and was scared, but other wise she was okay. Michael was drenched and he was wearing his blackberry phone. I suppose today he will tell work that baptizing his phone was an unfortunate consequence for saving his daughter. Now to the next time.
Eve was brave and excited to return to the water with all of her cousins the next afternoon. My sister-in-law, Shelene, was watching her kids, so I went down to life guard mine. I had been using my SIL's camera at the the time, so I jokingly said, "I better take this off encase I have to go save Eve." I put the camera away and went to a rock on the edge of the shoreline. I think it had been about 15 minutes when Eve gurgled, "Mom" as loudly as she could. I ran in a grabbed her up out of the water. She cried for a bit, and said she was pushed by a girl in a blue swimsuit, but wanted to go back in. My niece, Kyra, grabbed my shoes out of the water. (Did you know that Croc flip flops float?) Eve insisted she would stay in the water right at the shore line and she would be fine. So I perched on the rock and they all played until dinner time.

Rachel and her cousins Afton and Rebecca slept in a tent set up next to ours on Friday night and then Afton said that it was her turn on the air mattress in her parent's tent so she wasn't sleeping over another night. So, on Saturday night Rachel and Rebecca's voices were the last thing I heard as I drifted off to sleep.

I forgot to tell you how I managed to break Rachel's glasses. The shower facilities at Duckett's Mill have much to be desired. There were no benches on the shower that had the best water pressure and was big enough for the girls to shower together. I also made Aaron shower in the other side (much to his dismay...but hey...there were curtains!). Aaron's side had a shower that would hold a host of Lilliputians, but was entirely inadequate for shower supplies and a change of clean clothes. So with no good place to leave the glasses Aaron and Rachel gave me theirs and I put them in my pocket. I bent over slightly to wash Eve's and I felt a bend. I pulled the glasses out and Rachel's created an L shape. I was so mad! I felt really bad, too because I was projecting how I would feel if I had to go around for days having things blurry. Rachel was really sweet about it. She accepted my apology for breaking her glasses and had a great, yet blurry time.

I will finish uploading photos to the family website when Michael gets home from work. I have a few hundred and I can only upload 4 at a time. I think I've uploaded about 30, so far. FUN!

:::::::::::::::::Book Review:::::::

On Saturday night we finished reading Escape From The Carnivale. The kids and I enjoyed the story. Noah was, especially, eager to read each new chapter. The imagery in the book is written so vividly that it helps you visualize the scenes very well. The book has a mixture of magical creatures, a far away island setting and pirates, so it is great for all ages and genders. The theme of a little girl and her friends getting into trouble because they have delibrately disobeyed is one that everyone can identify with at some point in their lives. How they get out of a terrible fix is a great story. There is also a fun twist in the chapter right before the end of the book. This story is an enjoyable read. If you get the opportunity check it out!

::::::::::::::::New Family Reading Book:::::::

The Sisters Grimm: Once Upon a Crime. We have already plunged into the first chapter and the story line is moving at its normally quick pace. The kids all groaned when I stopped reading. This one looks to be another great installment!

:::::::::::::::::::Salute to the States:::::::::

Background: Alexander by Janel Kretschman,
Journaling Bits and Music Doodles: Kate Hadfield,
Font: DB Michael, Jane Austen,
Painted Alpha: Rachel Young,
Vintage Frame and Cluster Frame: Nancy Comelab,
Alpha: Christina Renee

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

On the Flip Side:

Text: July 01, 2007
Rachel had fun posing with her own rendition of Monticello on back of the nickel her dad gave her. The house and the grounds were gorgeous

Photo Id: Rachel makes comparisons.
Photo 2: Rachel age nine.

Background paper: Kraft paper from Simply Irresistable kit by Gina Cabrera
Chippy Alpha: Audrey Neal from Summer Collab kit at TLP
Frames: Nancy Comelab
Notepaper: Modified from Nancy Comelab
Book Plate Alpha: Christina Renee
Punch Label Alpha: The Powers Sisters
Backward Staple: Jenn Patrick
Font: Jefferson/Jane Austen

The gardens at Monticello are bright and beautiful! Strolling through there was such fun.

Paper: LDD Retro Kit
Cluster Frame: (modified) Nancy Comelab
Parisian Alpha: Rhonna Farrer
Font: TK Doodle, Adine-Kirnberg Script, DB Michael by Darcy at The Digichick

::::::::::::Runnin' Away, Aye!::::::

Yes, we are off again for a few days! We are attending a family reunion. It appears it will be a soggy time, but the kids will have fun with their cousins, aunts and uncles.

::::::::::::Twisted Kids::::::::

During our trip Aaron was searching for a song to listen to on the mp3 player. He found "Alice's Restaurant" by Arlo Guthrie. Michael said that is our Thanksgiving song. Pick something else. The kids all chimed in that they wanted "Alice's Restaurant". Rachel remembered a lot of the words, so she sang along. By the time we got to Monticello, Virginia to visit Thomas Jefferson's home we started calling any time the kids sat together "The Group W bench". They seemed to like that lable. Luckily, they don't identify with any of those on the bench from the song...not even the litterbug!
Rachel popping Aaron in the head:

Aaron throwing an elbow in retalitation:


Voices From Our Past:

This one is a layout of Noah using the audio tour to learn about the history of Ellis Island. He was able to hear interviews of some of the immigrants. I also mention in the layout his newest nervous tick, which is shifting his lower jaw. His first nervous tick is called a blepharospasm, which is a nervous eye tick. He developed that one last Summer. It shows up in periods of stress. Much of his stress has to do with arguing with Aaron. Unfortunately, they do bucket loads of disagreeing. ARGH! The lower jaw thing started near the end of school. The photos were funny to me because I caught him at several stages...punching in the audio code...noticing I was taking his photograph...smiling coyily...finally, giving me the goofy crossed eyes. I also included another art piece by Phillip Ratner.

:::::::::::::I Was Tagged::::::::::::::

by Kristen! She is so thoughtful to have included me in her group of 5 Rockin' ladies!

Thanks, again!

::::::::New family reading book:
Escape from the Carnivale: A Never Land Adventure by Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry

Here is a book review from

:::::::::::::It was brought to my attention::::::

that I forgot to Simpsonize 3 of our dear family members, so I have corrected my oversight:


The next book on my personal reading list is The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo. I read an article about the book in an issue of Discover magazine while I was waiting for Rachel to get her braces adjusted at the orthodonist. (Just click on the word Discover for a direct link to the article). Philip Zimbardo conducted prison experiments using college students at Stanford University. From the excerpt I read his experiment had to be called off early because of the abuses by the students who were in the guard group. Highly disturbing was the finding that when the students were able to shield their eyes with mirrored glasses and given a uniform that did not individually identify them they began to feel they had unlimited power and no accountability. The outcome from this experiment was a warning to everyone to be on guard and realize that each of us has a capacity to do evil and if we recognize and admit that part of us that we can be on guard for falling into the trap of making evil choses.

I look forward to reading this book. I always remember the maxim: Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I'm SPACE...tial!

Really, I am! I passed the quiz and everything! Michael showed me this website called Galaxy Zoo.
Here is what they say in their introduction: "Welcome to GalaxyZoo , the project which harnesses the power of the internet - and your brain - to classify a million galaxies. By taking part, you'll not only be contributing to scientific research, but you'll view parts of the Universe that literally no-one has ever seen before and get a sense of the glorious diversity of galaxies that pepper the sky.

Why do we need you?
The simple answer is that the human brain is much better at recognising patterns than a computer can ever be. Any computer program we write to sort our galaxies into categories would do a reasonable job, but it would also inevitably throw out the unusual, the weird and the wonderful. To rescue these interesting systems which have a story to tell, we need you."

Well, I took their quiz. I got 12 out of 15 correct. Michael was looking over my shoulder and said he thought I got a couple of clockwise and anti-clockwise galaxies swapped. He got a 14 out of 15. There is a tutorial before the test, which was really cool, so if you are interested in helping identify this enormous wealth of information into their proper categories give it a go!

::::::::::::::::::::America's Gateway:::::::::::::

I get on a theme and I suppose it must run it's natural course...(like it has it's own will, or something). Anyway, you will see a lot of blending in my next SEVERAL layouts for our vacation album. I have the hardest time trying to tell the story with one photo. It can be done...I did it once! It turned out to garner me several lovely comments, but the single photo layout is really an elusive muse for me so I will revisit it when the prompting comes again. For now, I am pleased to play with such things as "hard light" and "color burn" for blending photos into the background. Here is my first pages from Ellis Island called: "America's Gateway"

Text: Ellis Island was the first stop in our trip to New York. We got on the ferry in Jersey City, New Jersey. We chose to take the audio tour, which was great for us to go at our own pace and the kids could have control over something at the same time. We were all fascinated with the process and how scary it must have been to come to a new country.

Photo Cluster: Nancy Comelab,
Vintage Background: Nancy Comelab
Alpha by Christina Renee
Fonts: DB Michael /DJB JENB2 by Darcy at the Digichick,
Texas Hero/Jane Austen


I forgot to review this movie that we saw last Saturday. The film was such fun. The short film that precedes the main film is hilarious. There are no words, but the foleys sure did an amazing job on sound effects. It has to do with an alien learning to use his tractor beam. It has all the things I like...a crazy plot...funny looking aliens...and great animation.
Ratatouille was great. The characters were all well thought out. Brad Bird is a spring of continously amazing material. I love the character of Gusteau, who is the chef that Remy the rat, reveres, and comes to him as a figment of Remy's imagination. There is a revelation in the movie about another character and Remy asks the figment accusingly why he didn't tell him the information before. The figment responds something to the effect of "I am a figment of your imagination. Since you didn't know it, I didn't know it, either."
Peter O'Toole did a great job voicing the very thin food critic Anton Ego. The scene when Anton eats a dish created by Remy and it reminds him of his childhood is a gem in this film.

I highly recommend a trip to the theater for this one!

::::::::::::::::::Orthodontist Appt>:::::::::::

I need to get the kids up now. Rachel has an early orthodontist appointment. She loves to go. She sees the orthodontist as a place where they put cute multi-colored bands on her braces. I saw it as a house of pain. Interesting how different perceptions and perspectives can be...huh?!

Smiles from me and a cute smile from Rachel and her pretty new bands, later!

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Bit of Silliness!

***Edited to add a new layout.


Here is a Simpsonesque family portrait of both Michael's side of the family and mine:

Hey...they already thought I was weird!

:::::::::::::On Another Note:::::::::

My mom gave me her coupons for a new music website called Connect . I redeemed the 4 song credits for songs by Electric Light Orchestra or better known as E.L.O.
I downloaded "Mr. Bluesky", "Evil Woman", "Telephone Line" and "Hold On Tight". A wonderful part of growing up was listening to the radio on the many drives to visit my grandparents in Phenix City, Alabama and I remember singing along with these songs and several other E.L.O. songs. Such fun stuff. Check them out!

::::::::::New Layouts:::::::::
are in the works. I have tons of photos, so I hope to get a vacation book created by start of school, so the kids can show their teachers and classmates. Rachel recieved a sweet postcard from her new teacher. The teacher asked her about the specific places Rachel said she was planning to visit over the Summer. We grabbed a selection of different postcards from the trip and Rachel wrote her a letter, so we will pop that in the mail tomorrow.

***New Layout: "Where 2 First?

Borderlines and Traveling Stamp by Sande Krieger, background paper from Full of Life by Kay Miller, Teeny Tags by Jessica Bolton, Chippy Alpha by Audrey Neal from the Summer Collab kit at TLP, Cluster frame by Nancy Comelab, Date Stamp by Amber Clegg, Alpha sticker by the Powers Sisters, Doodle Alpha by Kate Hadfield and Font: DB Michael by Darcy

Reading time!!!
Ciao for now!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Drivin' All Night, My Hands Wet On The Wheel:

Yes, that is a line from the song "Radar Love" by Golden Earring. Michael drove from Niagara, New York to Cleveland, Ohio, then I took the figurative reins. We took 77 South to 85 South as our route. I got to beep the horn in West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. We only had one emergency pit stop on the way. Poor Eve had a tummy upset and held on valiantly until we located a Wendy's at exit 65 in Ohio. The siblings were trying to comfort her and told her she was so brave. Once we pulled in I through the car in park and grabbed her from the back and rushed in. We made it and with that out of the way she chatted and colored in her coloring book for the next couple of states. Before giving her the crayons I had to go over the "No Coloring On Dad's Truck Rule". A few days before she decided to do some modern art using her crayons on the back of Michael's seat. She said the coloring book just kept moving.

We arrived safely this morning. We went to bed about 3:30am. I got up at 9:15am and Michael ran to the grocery store for breakfast fixin's and made the kids french toast. I started the laundry and paid some bills on-line. The kids wanted to go to the library, so Michael loaded them up and instructed me to take another nap and a refreshing shower.

I slept about an hour and when I woke up Rachel was excited to show me a new series of books she found that are based on Colonial Williamsburg. I had Noah read a book from the reading list his teacher sent home at the end of the year. He enjoyed the book and his fluency gets better every time.

We went to my mom's house so the kids could get hugs and kisses, eat Granny's cheese grits, watch cartoons and pick up Jasper. My mother is very good with her "grand ferret". We watched the new season shows for Monk and Psych. The writers of Psych had similar likes and upbring because their one liners are warped. Tonight's episode included a line about Viger and Stephen Collins from Star Trek. It was hilarious. Tim Curry was on the season premiere and he was at his biting best. I love his condescending attitude. It is so tongue in cheek. One of the lines attributed to him in tonight's episode was, "He said we were a curious cocktail of inbreeding and type 2 diabetes!" Crazy hilarious!

:::::::::::::::::Next Week:::::

Is our family reunion at the lake. So I hope to get some scrap booking done about the trip before we leave, but the kids are clamoring for computer time. I also need to get the photos from Michael's computer so I can start. There is also a photo scavenger hunt we are supposed to have ready for the reunion so I need to print the list and keep it with me for photo ops.


We plan to see the movie "Ratatouille" it looks fun and the kids were looking forward to seeing the movie with my mom.

I saw these quizzes on Janna's blog and they seemed a perfect quirky fit for me:

$5375.00The Cadaver Calculator - Find out how much your body is worth. From Mingle2 - Free Online Dating

Mingle2 - Free Online Dating

49% GeekMingle2 - Free Online Dating

I also printed an avatar of myself as if I'm a character from the Simpsons, but I want to create one of the whole family before I post.

Later gators!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

On the Road, Again!

...We will be checking out shortly. Yesterday was so super busy and fun! We started off the morning with a tour of the falls on The Maid of the Mist. We left from the New York side. We got on the top deck wearing our souvenir blue parkas. The temperature was 79 degrees farenheit and the man at the park said this was the coolest it had been in about three days of hot and humid weather. The American falls were lovely and the Horseshoe Falls were spectacular. The water was coming down mind-bogglingly fast and was a gemstone green. The power generated by the water movement was amazing!

After The Maid of the Mist we went to take some more photos and get t-shirts for the kids when the storm we had noticed moving in from Canada came in full force. The rain came down hard, so we took refuge in the gift shop. Rachel, Eve, and Noah got Maid of the Mist t-shirts. Aaron decided to wait for shops in Canada.

When the rain let up we went on a different tour called Cave of the Winds.

We got yellow souvenir parkas and disposable shoes. The kids were turned off by the initial smell of the guano created by the hundreds of gulls, but as we walked Rachel noticed these beautifully colored snails on the side of the path. We stopped did some snail rescues and took a few photos. We found out the decking for the tour is rebuilt every year due to the weather conditions. In one place some one had put nails in the shape of a smiley face. The kids favorite spot was Hurricane Deck where you get deluged with a torrents of cold water. I the kids went in repeatedly for photo ops! When we finished the tour we donated our shoes back to the tour, which has signs saying they will use them for foreign missions. Eve was the only one to keep hers.

Then, to the hotel for dry clothes and back out for a trip to...CANADA! We drove into Canada for a three dollar car toll. We parked near the walk in front of the falls. We were all struck by how gorgeous the falls were on the Canadian side and how manicured and lovely the landscape is kept. We took a walk up incline drive and went for lunch at Applebees. Then, a walk through the Galleria where they have a really neat fountain inspired by Nikola Tesla. On the way back down the incline drive we stopped at a little shop underneath the Cascade Inn. Aaron chose a cute shirt with a moose that has Niagara Falls Canada on it and a baseball cap that says Canada. Michael chose a grey shirt with a smiling maple leaf. I chose some chocolate...surprising...NO! Rachel got a really cute fuzzy topped pen with a red maple leaf. Eve looked at me and said she had to go to the bathroom again, so we asked the shop owner where to go. She said go up to the inn and go in..."Say...Hi, Tom!", then go through two doors and it would be on the left". Everything was exactly as she said and Tom was very nice. When we got back down to the store I told her thank you and that Tom was very friendly. She informed me that Tom was her husband and that she had trained him well. I replied that she had indeed!

We took a walk along the Canadian side of the falls and were continuously amazed at the beauty. We left after about 4 hours. The kids and Michael changed clothes and went swimming again. I went to the fitness room and biked for 50 minutes. When we were all done with that the kids took baths and we quickly got ready to drive back to Niagara Falls Park for the fireworks display at 10:00pm. Noah was surprisingly lucid, but wavered at the 9:58pm mark. The fireworks lasted about ten minutes and were very pretty. Eve passed out in Michael's arms on the walk to the car. After a snack from the vending machine teeth were brushed, prayers were said, and we crashed.

We will be driving through Ohio and West Virginia on our way home so the kids can see some other stuff on the way. SO I suppose I will be updating from home next!