Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas is over, the company's all gone home and Chris is out having a personal shopping day so, I'm home alone with a whole day before me. And it's a day in which I don't even have to cook, which makes it a REALLY good day! :) We're taking the fam out for dinner tonight, in lieu of a trip to NYC. The trip just wasn't working out for everyone and, as it turns out, I couldn't have gone anyway with this lovely little broken toe I acquired last week. Sigh.

Both Chris and I have come away from all the holiday craziness with colds. He managed to get himself up and out before I got out of bed this morning. I took drugs. Nyquil and Advil Cold & Sinus. And, consequently, I had a pretty good night's sleep and feel a lot better this a.m.

It's a gorgeous, sunny day out there - but back to cold again. I heard it was quite warm yesterday, but I came home from church and, with the house empty and quiet, fixed my lunch (including lots of cookies) got the crossword out of the paper and totally CRASHED. It took me forever to wake up from the sugary stupor I fell into. But when I did, I went downstairs and curled up in front of the TV and Chris and I finally got around to watching Elf. SO funny! I felt worse and worse as the night went on, though. Hence, the before bed drugs. I guess all my crashing was needed because of the brewing cold.

So, now I'm ready for coffee #2 and a visit to SIStv and then into my scraproom with me. It's SUCH a mess in there. It's been very well used these past weeks. I've been doing a "December" photo-journal. I'm loving doing it and it will be such a nice album to have. I also need to get caught up on all my December ATC's. And I just want to clean up in general in there. I've really got an urge to go through all my supplies and purge and simplify. I need to go with that urge when I've got it! I'm feeling the urge to take down all the Christmas decorations - including the tree - as well. But Chris wants it up until after the New Year. Since we'll be gone on New Year's day - then January 2nd it all comes down! I love a new year!

May your new year be filled with blessings and possibilities and all you hope for!

Friday, December 12, 2008

How would you like to help someone in need this holiday season without even spending a cent? All you have to do is go to my friend, Courtney's blog here and leave a comment and she will donate a can of food for each comment received. I love Courtney and I would love to make her have to rent a U-Haul for all of the cans! Please go and do a simple thing to help others...

PLUS, I am committing to making a difference myself. My local Wegman's has a "check out hunger" program every holiday season where you can make a donation to local people in need as you check out and I am committing to donate one dollar for EACH comment I get on MY blog - about whatEVER! Just let me know you're here and I will donate a dollar for each comment I receive to THIS post by December 21st. Thank you and GOD BLESS YOU! And may we each be truly thankful for all that we have - which is SO much more than SO many! :)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Here it is! SIStv's newest collection - The Girl Next Door. It's very festive and girly and features MY very most favorite winter color combination. It's PERFECT for all your holiday projects and - what I love is that it's PERFECT for all your winter projects, too! (See some of both, below.) You can purchase it at the SIStv Boutique now! Enjoy!

Monday, December 08, 2008

(As always, click on photo for a larger image)

So - I've been a busy girl! Okay, not decorating my house, like I was supposed to be, but, still. I found out last week that, due to the fact that SIStv doesn't really have a digi boutique anymore, and us "digi" FGirls (Fashionistas; Design Team members, etc.) weren't getting much to work on, and a few of the other girls have left the team for various reasons, I'm now a "regular old" Fashionista. Which means I will get the full-on SIStv paper collections with which I will make lovely layouts and projects in an effort to promote said collection and inspire members of SIStv. (I'm SO excited about this, too!) SO - my first collection came on Thursday and it's releasing this week, so I needed to get busy scrapping. Oh, what a hard, hard world I live in.... And those are the layout/projects I made with the collection. It's called "The Girl Next Door". The red, aqua and white are my very FAVORITE winter color combo.

In other news, I had just a lovely day yesterday. Well, it did start out nicely with a great Praise Sunday service. But I had to come home and drink a whole entire gallon of salty/sweet laxative liquid. Do you KNOW how much a gallon is? I daresay, not too many people drink that much liquid in a weekend, much less ONE day. It was definitely a matter of mind over matter, but I got through it. I started at about 12:30 when I got home from church and forced down the last glass around 7:30. UGH!!! I performed its intended purpose quite nicely - which, shall I say, made for quite a restless afternoon. I had to get up at 6 a.m. this morning to perform other bowel-related duties before being whisked off for my 2nd ever colonoscopy. Now THAT part was a breeze! We stopped for lunch at Perkins afterwards and I've been living in a little envelope of comfy, cozy fuzziness ever since. I could definitely go down and take a little nap. I need to make one card first and then I will. They told me not to do ANYthing today, nor to make any decisions, but I don't think they were referring to me deciding which patterned paper or stamp design to use... I think I'll be fine! They did remove a small polyp and some surrounding tissue, so I'll find out Monday at the dr's. whether or not I have six months or less to live or not ... I'm not worried. :)

Monday, December 01, 2008

Happy December! First of all, feel free to click on a Christmas song over here -----> to get you in the mood! (Click "pop out" for more selections. And thanks Jody F., cuz I pretty much stole your entire playlist!) :)

I'm starting a new project today - December daily photos. And there's my first one. Yep. All the decorations have been brought downstairs and tomorrow I'll start the process - and for me it IS a process - of decorating. First up will be clearing all the decks of whatever is adorning all the display spaces at present. That in itself is a chore. Then I'll begin taking stuff out of the Christmas boxes (kinda like opening presents in and of itself!) and setting it all on my dining room table (yay! no cooking this week!). Some stuff goes in the same place year after year, but I also like to change things up, too. And, since we haven't been home for Christmas for the past two years and, therefore, I haven't decorated - and in the meantime we've purchased new living room furniture that involves fewer tables - it will be a bit of a challenge this year to see where everything will go. I may be thinning out some of the stuff, just keeping what I really really love. And that's as it should be, anyway.

On "black Friday" we went green. M&M and Chris and I went in search of trees to tag. We had success at the first place we stopped (our previous supplier no longer is...). We both ended up tagging frazier furs - theirs is a sweet size - not to small, but not too big. We got what I would guesstimate as about a 9-footer. I wanted to go big, but not dangerous this year and we tried to get something not too fat! Here's ours:
Purty, huh?
And, finally, here's a group shot of the fam and friends that we were blessed to have sitting all together around those two rented tables and 13 chairs. (A WONderful solution and one I'm SO glad I thought of.) As I sat down to eat with the buzz of everyone around me chowing down, conversing and enjoying each other, my heart felt truly full. And then, later, my stomach did, too. :)

So enough computer for one day. I have projects to finish and projects to start and tabletops to clear - and not enough time left in the day! As usual.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I'm totally diggin' this Grandma stuff. *sigh* And one of the best things is being able to see and enjoy things all over again through the eyes of a 4-year-old. It's sweet.

Last night Chris and I and Dustin, Emily and Eva and Deborah and Gary all braved the VERY cold temps to watch Williamsport's Thanksgiving Parade. Did I mention that it was EXTREMELY cold? What were we thinkin'? But, dang it, sometimes you just have to get out in it and we did. And even though we all experienced moments of pain and torture, we all also managed to have FUN!

See? Grandma No. 1 (aka "Bobbie" to Eva and "Deborah" to me) is also reliving her childhood vicariously through Eva. It's a joyful thing.

She is just one of THE most delightful and easy to delight children. I even thought that beFORE she became my granddaughter. Which makes the fact that she's my granddaughter even more wonderful. I'm smitten. Can you tell?
We all met at a little Thai restaurant for dinner beforehand. Mmmm. That was good. We chose it because, well, we all (most of us, anyway, but Chris is coming along...) like Thai food, but also because the restaurant was located on the parade route and we could easily just park once and then hang out. After the parade, we went into the Bullfrog Brewery and got a little something to warm our spirits, if not our bodies. Deborah and I got Bailey's coffees, Eva got a hot chocolate and the rest of the clan got an icy cold beer. Hmmm. Well.
Matthew and Martha were waiting for us when we got back home. They'd had car troubles and had to have the ("new") car towed back to Mel's - for the 2nd time. I won't go into the whole long story, but if that didn't make for a bad enough day, as I greeted Martha in the kitchen as they were standing over some freshly-consumed pizza, I went to wipe what I thought was a smear of pizza off her lip and here, it was a bleeding wound she'd gotten that day when a ladder fell on her face. Yikes! Poor girl. She was a little red and swollen in the nose/mouth area, but we were all so very relieved to see that her teeth had not blackened and fallen out and felt that, at this point, they probably weren't going to. So we got her bandaged up and sent them out the door at around 9:30 p.m. - Martha hadn't even been back home yet for the day.
We'll see all of our beloved children and grandpeople/pets again this weekend. They all plan on coming over to watch the PSU game this afternoon. We'll feast on leftover "pigroast" from our church's anniversary celebration in August. Time to get it out of the freezer. And tomorrow they'll be back after church to share a meal. I'm about to go make the cheesy cauliflower chowder for that meal. After I do the song service. Which is going to happen right now.
Bye. Happy weekend!

Monday, November 17, 2008

And that's November for ya. The mums are still going, but we're getting snow squalls, too. I kinda love it. I guess I'm just a fan of all kinds of weather (except tornadoes!). Of course everyone loves perfect weather days. But I don't mind a rainy day. And brutally cold days are just an excuse to stay inside curled up with a book or a movie or your honey (or any combination thereof) especially since we have one kickarse woodstove. And I'm always excited when we get our first snow - and our first snow that sticks. Which this one won't. But we're expecting squalls all week. Chris went and had the snow tires put on the car this a.m. After having to go work all winter for 4 years, I have learned to trust the snow tires. I'm driving to cards tonight, but no worries. Besides, it will prolly only make the road just wet - in most places. Where I live in Huntersville, though, can sometimes NOT be like most places. Where there's wet roads below, there's often slick/icy roads up here.

We had an online pajama party at SIStv Friday night. Betcha didn't even KNOW you could have an online pj party! We had all sorts of games and contests - and prizes. I got to be "The Bossy Scrapper". That's a game where a Fashionista goes online (and signs in) as this anonymous persona and "bosses" all the participants around (kinda like "Simon Says") and has them use certain scrap supplies and put together a layout. Of course, everyone's layout turns out differently. Here's the one I did ahead of time, just to make sure it would all "work":

I LOVE that photo of Matthew and Taco! Since we were also presenting SIStv's "The Night Owl" collection, those of us Fashionistas that were participating were to incorporate that somehow into each of our games/challenges. So I had each person I was bossing around use a dark color for their background (like "night") and then for their title they had to have the word "owl" or "night" in the title, or something related to either of those two words. Hence, my title of "Ggrrrowl (Not)". :) Fun stuff. It took about an hour and a half to play. We all had a fun time and it wasn't toooo hard for me to step out of my comfort zone and be bossy. Heh.

Well, enough typing. I'm off to work on some projects. Chris is - of all things - golfing. Yep. Well, if he can play today, then so can I! But I'll be warmer and drier! ;)

Monday, November 10, 2008

We've got a new bi-monthly challenge going at SIStv. It's called the "Haute Spot". The first challenge was to create a layout using some sort of math equation. So that's the one I did, above. (Click image to see it larger). Chris has suggested that it should be 4-2= TWO happy families! :) But I like it the way it is! :)

Wow! It's been a busy week! But one thing we did was have dinner Friday night at M&M's new rental house. I can't believe how much they've done all week - and while working, too! There's a little collage of their 1st floor area. (Click image to see larger) I didn't get any good ones of the kitchen area. Except for this darling pic of little Taco, "playing cards" with us and looking at his beloved Matthew:

Awwwww. I feel another scrapbook layout coming on...

I have TWO new classes starting today, so I'm going to get going on those. It looks to be another FULL week! Enjoy!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

They're home! Home in Watsontown, PA! Exactly 30 minutes from our front door. I'm breathing a big sigh of relief and pleasure. Okay - I think I can believe it now - that Matthew and Martha have officially moved from AZ to PA! They talked about it off and on for several years, especially after visiting here or after hearing about family events/funerals that they weren't a part of. But, when they started talking about it after they were married (here at our house in PA last summer), they seemed pretty serious. I didn't want to get my hopes up, but over the next months it became clear that this was going to happen! And we rejoiced the day they pulled into our driveway from AZ - for the last time.

Now, after 4 months of living with us, finding jobs, getting a second car and renting a house, they are now OFFICIALLY and finally living on their own in PA! Ahhhh - another big sigh of relief and satisfaction. The relief is just knowing that they are now nearby and are going to be a REAL part of our lives, like, up close and in person. The satisfaction is that God has really provided all their needs for them, it went really well with them living here - we all survived quite nicely - now they can leave the land of limbo and start their new lives here and I think they're pretty happy.... Yes, ahhhhhhh.

Chris helped them move yesterday, as did Dustin. And I did in a small way - I brought the doggie "home". :) We got pizza and popped a bottle of champagne open to celebrate. All is well. God is good.

I guess I can believe it now... :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Credits: Page Template: Miss Mint ScrapSnap6 (Peppermint Creative) All other papers and elements: Autumn Medley (Shabby Princess Designs) Fonts: Arial (journaling); CK Holiday Spirit ("Little Miss"); 2Peas Gift ("Pumpkin"); Brush455 BT ("Painter") As always, click on image to enlarge for closer viewing.

Here's the latest digi I've done. I whipped it out Monday afternoon using a lovely invention called a template. Basically, the main design elements are already laid out (in this case, all of the photo spots) and you just add your photos and digital papers and embellishments. It makes it possible to get a page with lots of photos done so much more quickly. Gotta love that!

Martha made dinner for one the last times while they live here tonight and we had Dustin, Emily and Eva up as well. After dinner there were more autumn activity going on - i.e. the carving of the jack-o-lanterns.

Here's Matthew hard at work on his pumpkin masterpiece.

I'll bet you can't guess what it's going to look like...

SUCH hard work, man! But it was worth it. Just look at what was produced:

Matthew's is the big one on the bottom. Any guesses? The creators of the above jack's were, from top left: Chris, Dustin (LOVE that one - so cool - and scary!), Martha, Eva and on the bottom from the left: Dustin and Matthew.

In other ongoing news, M&M are planning on trying to get enough stuff moved in to their new rental house that they can spend the night there on Friday... Ohhhh, I'm gonna miss them. I know I keep saying that I'm just gonna miss Martha's cooking (which I WILL), but it's going to be awfully quiet around here. But tidier. Well, I'm truly thrilled for them and only because I know they'll only be a short ride away. Really not much farther than going to Wegman's to get groceries. If you don't count the driveway and the back roads or the traffic lights, really only a few miles. :) Anyway, they'll be HERE and not in AZ. I'm so excited for them to finally get to settle down and settle into their OWN place and finally feel like they've moved here and can start their new lives here.

We are blessed...

Friday, October 24, 2008

My Senseo machine broke yesterday. This, of course prompted an immediate trip to Target for replacement.

Yes, I know we recently purchased this little lovely:

And it's a fine machine, it really is. But a coffee machine can only produce coffee that's as good as the coffee you put IN it - if you know what I mean. Yeah. So Chris has a tendency to buy the cheapest crap (oh! did I say "crap"? I meant "coffee", I really did...) and he makes it a leeeetle too strong for me. Sooooo.

Years ago, I purchased my Senseo. I only drink exactly two cups (mug-sized cups, admitedly) of coffee in the morning, anyway, and this way I could also treat myself to the occasional (okay, one a day) flavored coffee which I do highly enjoy. And, dang, those pods of coffee just taste REAL good. I use a variety of pods, but favor Melitta with the occasional Wolfgang Puck pod thrown in. Can we say "yum"?

So, when the machine finally gave up the ghost yesterday, Martha (who also appreciates the podded cuppa) and I looked at each and simultaneously shouted, "Starbucks!". Oh, sweeeeet. Yes, it is a sweet, sweet thing that our brand new Targhay also houses the beloved Starbucks - and all only 12.3 minutes away...

We felt it only our duty to try and be thrifty by checking out the pod machines at our also new and conveniently-located-just-3-stores-down-the-row-from-the-"T" Bed, Bath and Beyond. It's only right. Alas, they did NOT carry the Senseo, but I did manage to find a few things to throw in my cart while there. Believe me, I practiced GREAT restraint!

At Target, I found that the Senseo was not even on the shelf anymore (*gasp*)! But, thank all that is holy, there was ONE last machine left boxed up. I happily grabbed it and tossed it in my cart while simultaneously enjoying my Caramel Macchiato (venti, mind you). What a lovely experience.

Martha - who was supposed to be buying tube socks for Matthew - found this absolutely adorable little goodie:

Is that not to die for? And look at that little tail...oh my goodness! *swoon*

So, yes, I was supposed to be doing my banking yesterday- usually at least a very full morning and part of the afternoon is involved in order to do both our own and the church's bill paying, balancing and record keeping. By the time we got home from our happy chore, the morning was almost over - and so was my mojo. I pushed myself to at least get our banking done. And I just finished the church banking a few minutes ago.

I think I need another cup of coffee...

Friday, October 17, 2008

(For Credits, see this layout on my SIStv gallery here. And, as always, click image for larger view.)

Just sitting here killing some time at the lovely Cedar Run Inn. We're all checked out, we've made our deposit for next year and we're just waiting until it's ice cream o'clock when we'll meander across the street to the Cedar Run General Store for lunch (i.e. waffle cone). It's pretty chilly today. We have a short hike planned for this afternoon and a short bike ride. If it's too chilly for the bike ride, I may persuade Chris into a little shopping in Wellsboro. I AM on vacation, ya know! We can't be having TOO much exercise!

One of the things I love about here is that even though there's no TV or phones in the rooms, there IS wireless, so we can bring the laptop and get on the internet. Yesterday, I spent some time cleaning - files, that is. And then I scrapped that page up there. Another plus for digi scrapping - you only need 4 supplies: computer, photos, digi elements and a photo editing program. Sweet.

Tomorrow, we're heading up to State College to try and get tickets for the PSU vs. Michigan game. Ohhhh, I LOVE going to the games. They are SO much fun - even if you don't like football. I don't care about ANY sports at all - EXCEPT PSU football. Chris (and his whole family) gradutated from PSU and, after we were married and he finished his last year there, I worked on campus. I was the secretary for the fraternities and sororities. I worked in a one-person (moi) office and the presidents of each of the frats and sororities would bring in projects and I kept all their records. Pretty FUN, let me tell ya. And I was only a few years older than all of them! Chris and I got invited to a lot of frat parties. (But not so much the sorority parties, for some odd reason...) Well, that was back in the day.... ANYway - consequently, we are both HUGE football fans. And this is a GREAT year for the team. We're currently undefeated for the season.

So, while Chris and I have been away for, lo, these 3 days, M&M have FINALLY been enjoying some alone time at the house. I feel bad for them. It's really hard to live with someone else and not have your own place. (Been there, done that - even with people I LOVED...) They are SO ready to move out and get their new life in PA started. They both have jobs now, so the housing pursuit is in full motion. But not having your own place still feels like limbo. So, anyway, I'm glad that they've at least had a little privacy for a few days. I wouldn't be surprised if they've found a place to live by the time we get back. DANG, I'm gonna miss Martha's cooking, though. Okay, them too, but the cooking. Oh, the cooking. (Drat! That means I'm gonna have to start back up my own self, soon. I'm SO over cooking...)

I'm off to get a little reading/crossword time in before we head out. Hard life, I know.
Happy weekend!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's one of those years. A year when we, who live in north central PA experience God's very best autumn artwork. The mums have been beautiful, the weather has been outstanding and the colors this year are just gorgeous. Our house is all "autumned up" with mums and pumpkins and corn stalks. And the ferns are still going strong - look how long they are! My porch is pure eye candy...

Those pumpkins look nice and all, but they ARE just beggin for some faces, aren't they? I think we'll tackle that next weekend...

On Sunday, the four of us piled in to the car and, after enjoying some true philly cheese steaks from the not-so-urban Forksville General Store, we headed to Canyon Vista Overlook in the Wyoming (in PA) State Forest. (Don't ask.) It was a GLORious day and, well, the view speaks for itsself.

There's M&M posing amongst the beautiful fall foliage at the overlook.

Martha collected some leaves to press for future paper/crafting projects - or just for fun. They sure were pretty...

So, we had a great day. And tomorrow, Chris and I are headed up to our beloved Pine Creek Valley for our annual 3-day, 2-night stay at the Cedar Run Inn. This will be our fifth (or more?) visit there. We get the package deal which includes both their fabulous dinner AND their fabulous breakfast. YUM! The food is truly wonderful. The atmosphere is sooooo relaxing and beautiful. The bike path runs along one side of the property and Pine Creek on the other. What could be better? Well, I guess that would be the Cedar Run General Store being directly across the street. And it's a small street at that. It's the location of some deeeelicious ice cream which, generally - because our breakfast and dinner are already supplied - we have for "lunch" when it's open. Oh, yeah. My very most fave flavor is Bittersweet SINphony. Coffee ice cream with bittersweet fudge swirls and fudge chunks. Oh my.

And, ya know, I've just been craving a belgian waffle lately, don't ask me why. So, we are going to begin our trip north tomorrow with a stop at Perkins for breakfast. Jealous, aren't you? You should be! :)

Monday, October 06, 2008

I love it when Barb comes up while I'm here. It's just so much better when there's three of us "Hall girls". We had a great long weekend together. Went out to eat and chatted away Saturday night. Late to bed both Friday and Saturday nights. She went home Sunday afternoon and I spent 8.5 hours all told in Mom's skilled nursing room that day. Loooonnngggg day - especially with Barb gone. I think we were ALL tired by the end of the day.

I majorly slept in this a.m. Then, after lunch, Gail, one of Mom's "companions" (and a friend, to me AND Mom) picked me up and we went and had some coins appraised (no big deal) and then she took me to - hold your seats - Anthropologie. Okay. This is, hands down, the BEST store EVAH! Soooooo many deeelicious things in there and I was trying not to drool on everything and spend toooo much time. But I did manage to come away with some goodies AND have now officially begun my Christmas shopping! YAY!

We then went to the mexican restaurant next door and I had a couple of margueritas. Which, not surprisingly, made the remainder of my time with Mom FLY by. She didn't seem to notice that I was trying hard not to slur my words... And even if she did notice that I thought everything I had to say was brilliant and hilarious, she didn't say anything to the contrary... God bless her.

I was going to go to a few more stores tonight and get a bite to eat, but I just decided to save some money and stay home and make do with the apples and cheese that I already have here and that really need to be eaten before I leave tomorrow. And I think I need to go a pack and make sure that my lovely purchases will fit in my bag...

It's home tomorrow afternoon and the week went fairly quickly after all...

Friday, October 03, 2008

There she is! And I'm so glad I decided to bring my (Kodak) camera at the last minute. I had Gail take this pic of Mom and I. Mom is definitely making progress in her physical therapy. She can sit on the edge of her bed (with help getting up there) and, though it was VERY painful and hard for her because of her bad knee on her "good" leg, she DID stand on it yesterday in PT by leaning on the p-bars. And they showed her in PT how she can actually assist the aides and turn her 3-person transfer into a 2-person transfer. The problem is that it's VERY hard work and, classically, if she can get away with someone else doing it for her, well, she will.

But, overall, I was really encouraged and now am somewhat hopeful that she CAN work to the point of being able to come home someday. The physical therapist explained how far she had come in just a week. Sooooo, there's HOPE! And that will change the tone and direction of our family meeting today, at least a little.

Barb is coming in a 2 p.m. today and our family meeting with SES and Dave on the speaker phone will begin as soon as she sets foot in the door. Then we'll all (or as many of us as can) will go down and meet with Mom and tell her whatever we've decided to tell her. She is still under the impression (on "planet Mary" as I like to call it) that the dr. will tell her she can start walking on her next visit - which isn't for 3 months. She doesn't want to be wheelchair bound, so she, in her mind, is still hoping for a walker. She, as is so like her, hasn't really heard that the dr. does NOT want her walking on that leg, so the walker is OUT. Therefore, she WILL, at best, be wheelchair bound. And I say at best, because I feel that it's a much better option than where she's been for the past almost 6 months now - bed bound and tied to the bed pan. UGH!

So, we'll see how our meeting goes. I'm of a mind that she should know and accept this because then she can begin working and pointing her life towards it, instead of living in the land of unfulfilled hopes and dreams. I know it's more bearable to believe what will not be, but I also believe that allowing her to continue thinking that way keeps her from doing the work she needs to do and it keeps her in a constant state of disappointment when what she hopes continues to not happen.

Okay, so I'm off for my 2nd cup of coffee and then a little walk outside (it's GORgeous!) before I head over to the skilled nursing unit for the rest of the morning.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

That's one of the three pages I'll be taking to Madison tomorrow when I go to visit my Mom for a week. With the summer craziness, I got 3 months behind. My plan is to mail them to her, so she gets some happy mail every once in a while (believe me, she needs it!), but I guess the next best thing is to deliver them in person. But this will be the last personal delivery for the year, anyway and probably not until spring of '09 at best.

Soooo, I'll be in Madison for a week. I hope to get in a little shopping at some of my fave places in while I'm there. Like here. And here. And here. Dare I go here? And, I'd LOVE to go here, but not alone. BUT, I'm bringing a SMALL suitcase and, therefore, will not be able to fit much extra in it! (I guess that's one good way to make sure I don't spend too much!) I'm also hoping that at least one of my siblings will be able to come and visit me while I'm there.

In the meantime, back home, there's some exciting stuff going on for Martha and Matthew. Martha is having a "cook-off" for a job that her and one other candidate are vying for. It's for a new brew-pub in Danville (the main con of the job is the distance) that she would be exec chefing. (The cook-off is at our house and doesn't involve the other guy - just Martha). She has another interesting job prospect that she'll be interviewing for on Monday - for a catering chef/event planner at a local college - which just happens to be next door to where Matthew is now working. I'm sure both places will want her and then she'll be in the lovely position of being able to choose.

And, the kids are itching now to get their own place. Limbo land is not an easy place to be and, understandably, staying with us has lost most of it's charm. It's not about us and I don't take it all personally, having been in the same situation myself. It's about not being able to set up your own household and get on with your life. And, especially coming here from AZ which is already a big enough change - well, they are READY to get on with it! This was a very necessary transition for them (staying here) and I know they are truly grateful for it. It's just that you get antsy after a while and really need your own place. Like I said, I get it.

Once they do move and are able to assess the situation with the gratitude that I know they have and that will be renewed once they're settled, I'm sure we will be treated to a lifetime of weekly meals at their home. :) Yeah. I'm gonna MISS that part!

M&M have also been looking at houses to rent. They're leaning towards staying right in the Williamsport area as they want to be near Matthew's job so at least one of them can take public transportation or walk, if needed, and just because they'd like to be closer to stuff to do. It's fun hearing about the different places they're looking at. The gas prices (for heating) are knocking them for a loop, though. Unfortunately, I don't think that's going to get much better, even though the auto gas prices are steadily going down right now...

But, anyway, I guess it's forseeable that they could move while I'm gone. I kinda doubt it will happen that fast, but it could. And Chris could have to clear out the cookstove and start a fire. And the leaves could be amazing when I get back. (Hope I don't miss them!)

I can't believe it, but I'm actually NOT taking my camera with me to Madison. I decided I didn't want to be loaded down with it. I just want to kinda travel "light" this time - even, as I said before, with a smaller suitcase. I figured I can do my laundry while I'm there. And what am I going to take photos of, anyway? I don't know - at the last minute I might throw in my little Kodak because I can barely stand the thought of NO camera... We'll see.

Well, I'm off to finish packing.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Wow. My "baby" is 28 years old today! How in the heck did THAT happen? He's a fine young man and I'm proud of him. He's a husband now and a "step" daddy. I look forward to seeing what he will do with his life from here. He has many gifts. I pray he and his family will be greatly blessed!

Chris and I had the pleasure of eating out last night with our whole little family (minus one cat, one dog and one grandchild, that is). We went to the Selin's Grove Brewing Co. It was a rather long trip down in the rain due to an accident (not involving us), but we had good food, good libations and a good time.

I've had a busy week working on little gifties and ATC's for my fellow Fashionistas (those who signed up for the exchange, anyway). Here's my little projects:

Shhh, don't tell anyone, but that's one of the littles boxes that I altered. They're for holding ATC collections. And since not all of the Fashionistas are making gifts, but all are making ATC's, I thought I'd make a little something for them to store the cards in, as you can see below:

Yeah, that's kind of a lot of room - for ONE card. But it's meant to hold all 22 cards that we'll each be getting...

And that's a closeup of one of the 22 cards I made. They're all pretty much the same, just with different colors to them. I wanted to make a card that would express how much my girls mean to me and how much they inspire me.

In other news, Martha has a friend coming in for a visit today for the remainder of the weekend. We love Anna, too - it will be great having her. Tomorrow, some of the musicians from Valley Mosaic will be joining Matthew at Lycoming Valley Baptist Church where he has been leading the music Sunday mornings. And, in the evening, they will all play again at the VM's weekly gathering. So, Chris and I are planning on attending that...

Monday, I'll tackle getting all my goodies mailed off and then Tuesday I'll be packing to go to Madison for a week long visit with my mom. Wednesday a.m., before flying out of H-burg in the afternoon, I'll be getting a lovely mammogram. Won't that be nice? Always so enjoyable - NOT. I hope they have the new squeeze-reduction technology available...

So, TODAY, being all caught up on projects and all, I will be finishing up our song service for tomorrow, maybe cleaning up a bit around here and then MOSTLY laying back doing whatever I please. Tonight, PSU plays it's first "real" - as in possibly challenging - game of the season. We've crushed everyone so far, so tonight we'll see if it was because we're so good or they were so bad... Looking forward to that, because I suspect it's the first.

Happy Saturday, all!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Here are two of the adorable little projects I've made for my class with Wilna Furstenberg this week (see link at left). They are both made from Starbuck's products - the first from a cup (yes, a cup!) and the second from the cup sleeve! Ha! Is that not cool? Wilna (a fellow Fashionista) has done all the painted artwork that we were able to download and print out for use. You can see a page-by-page of the sleeve mini on my SIS gallery here. I haven't put anything yet in the cup book - not sure where I'll go with it, but it's VERRRRRY fun!

Today we're heading out for probably what will be our last bike ride of the season. We're going up to the Pine Creek area and then we're going to eat out on the beautiful deck of the Manor Hotel which overlooks the creek. It's getting chilly out at night - so we will have to dress accordingly. It's so beautiful up there, though. Love it.

Matthew's in the process of putting together a song service for the church he's working for. How ironical and amazing is THAT (because, of course, I do the very same thing for my own church every week). So, it's very hard for me to concentrate on writing because I can't help singing along to all these great praise songs (he's working off a Lincoln Brewster CD).

Have a GREAT weekend!

Monday, September 15, 2008

(Link here for credits) (Click layout for closer view and to read journaling)

One of my SISters passed away this week. (Since our website is, we call each other SISters - and the community really feels sisterly...). Her name was Aleida (screen name ricanlaw) and she was 41 years old with 2 young children and a husband she was still so in love with. She'd been at SIStv just as long as I have. While I didn't "know" her well - she wasn't active on the message boards - I was familiar with her work and her name as she would post layouts and leave comments on other people's layouts. She was tragically killed instantly as a car ran a red light and struck her broadside as she was crossing an intersection on the green light. Thank God, her children were not with her. I've started a thread on the website message boards (here) for SISters who would like to honor her memory by "lifting" one of her layouts.

"Lifting", in the scrapping world (as in "scrap"lifting - related to "shop"lifting), is a high high compliment and so, I thought it would be a fitting way to honor her. So the above is my lift of one of her layouts. If you look at the thread I started (again, here), you can see Aleida's layout that I lifted.

It may seem trite, but it truly does make you pause to think about how precious life really is and how quickly it can change or be over.

What would you do differently if you thought today would be your last day on earth?

What would you do differently if you thought today would be your loved ones' last day on earth?

Now - DO it!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Here's my first photo that I've scrapped from the wedding - at least it was taken AT the wedding reception, if not of the bride/groom. As you can see it was just a gorgeous location and day... (click on the photo for a little closer viewing). That's my nephew, Calin (Bill's son) and his girlfriend, Brittany. For the digi credits, check my post of the layout in my SIStv portfolio.

Just a rainy, yucky, ugly day - ALL day. But I didn't really care. I met Deborah for lunch today after running a couple errands and then we ran a few errands together after that, too. Came home just in time to pop some veggies in the oven roast after Martha prepared what turned out to be a deeelicious cheese and broccoli stuffed chicken breast. I don't EVER want them to move out!

They, on the other hand, are really craving their own place and, of course, I can't blame them. I've been in their situation more than once and even though I adored my in-laws, it's just plain hard to live with someone else. Nothing is really "your own", you feel like you're in limbo, you don't have any privacy. It's just hard. So I don't at all take it personally, I truly do completely understand. We, on the other hand, are GREATLY benefitting, though - especially in the culinary realm - from their presence. Martha loves to cook and I think it makes them feel like they're contributing - which they majorly ARE!

I've got some projects I really need to get to (scrapping, of course) over the next couple weeks - before I fly back to Madison, so the busy factor will pick up a bit again. I have a few appointments and meetings to shuffle in the mix, (and a little "Dancin' on the Deck" party) but should mostly be able to shut myself away in the scraproom. I'm really looking forward to that! Honestly, I just never get tired of it.

I'll be hosting cards (pinochle) here Monday, in substitution for one of the gals that can't do it. So, that will be fun. But I'm gonna have to get a few things ready for that on Sunday/Monday, so that will take a little time. I'm going to make Pumpkin Pie Cake for dessert. Mmmmm. That alone is reason enough to love fall - and it IS getting VERY fall-like around here!

Tomorrow, Matthew and I will duke it out over the use of the computer - since he's leading the music at Jack's church, we BOTH need to put our song services on PowerPoint. I'm gonna go first and get done before a trip to the chiropractor (i.e. Chris). Then tomorrow afternoon, it's Penn State football time in the TV room! YAY!

Mom, I SWEAR I'm going to call you before the game starts, though! :)

All this is making me sleepy! I'm off to go read (about two paragraphs) in bed.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I've been enjoying having time to "play" lately and one of things I've been doing is taking some classes at SIStv. The latest one I completed was taught by fellow Fashionista Jo-Anne te Raa and I made the above project. I am just LOVING how these amazingly talented ladies are stretching me and challenging me. Truly.

NEXT, I have signed up for the class you'll see a blinkie for on the left - taught by Wilna Furstenberg, not only a fellow Fashionista, but also my own "Big SISter Fashionista". Awwww. I love her so. We share a strong faith in God and she is just super inspiring and talented and sweet! Her class is open to anyone reading this blog, of course, and begins next Monday for 10 (work) days. I can't wait! You can also link to her blog at the left in my list of Fashionista blogs.

In other news, I ended up taking Chris to the ER last night. He had been having some trouble swallowing and his lips and mouth were feeling tingly and numb. He came down around 1:30 a.m. (yes, I was still up!) and couldn't sleep but wasn't ready to take a ride yet. He took some benedryl and felt a little better. But by the time I made it to bed and got only a little sleep he woke me up and felt he should go to the ER - also on the recommendation of the tele-nurse we must call. There were quite a few causes as we explored the subject online and it just wasn't something we wanted to mess around with. Plus, he was feeling worse again and had even thrown up.

As it turns out, our suspicions were correct - he was having an allergic reaction. To what, we aren't exactly sure, but have some ideas (food - like melon and tomatoes that may be triggering a pollen allergy). Anyway, of course, the dr. is trained to treat your symptoms, not figure out what causes them!

So, he was given an injection of Pepcid (did you know it contains an antihistimine? Probably explains why I DON'T get allergy symptons anymore - because I take Pepcid AC almost daily!) in the shoulder and two injections in his backside - one a steriod and the other benedryl. After he showed signs of improvement, they sent him home. We laid our heads back down on our pillows at 5:30 a.m. - just as a thunderstorm was passing through. He DID actually get up at 8 a.m. and go to work. I, however, did not. Well, okay - I don't have a job. But, yeah, I slept til 9 a.m. and then the old brain started going and I just got up.

He's feeling much better tonight. And giving up the voluminous amount of watermelon he's been eating. AND, I guess it's a good thing our neighbor's tomatoes are done because we've been eating large quantities of those, too. In fact, Chris made a DEElicious tomato/watermelon salad on Sunday. I guess it's no wonder that he had the reaction he did if those foods are, indeed, the cause. And, to top it off, he had tomato soup for part of his supper last night.

All is well now and he has some drugs for the next two mornings, so, hopefully it will all calm down and life will return to normal, as well as our sleep patterns...

So - goodnight! :)

Monday, September 01, 2008

There they are. The newest Barlow family. Emily is officially Mrs. Barlow. Dustin is officially a step-dad (even though Eva calls him "daddy") and we are officially "step" grandparents. But, since there has never been a bio-dad or a second set of grandparents in Eva's life, Dustin IS her daddy (and has been) and we are just whole-heartedly filling the grandparent role (and have been) and we're tossing the "step" and just embracing the fact that we ARE her other grandparents. My heart is very very full....

The wedding ceremony was unspeakably beautiful. Everything that was said was well thought out and full of meaning. And so much was said. So much to think about and chew on and be challenged by and be inspired by. There wasn't a dry eye in the adorable little chapel they were married in.

So now all the festivities are over and life returns to normal. Well, normal as we know it. It is Labor Day, so we (Chris, Matthew, Martha and I) are planning to go to Rickett's Glen and just laze around all day. We're taking leftover food from our big shebang on Friday night. And we're taking the canoe and kayaks. And beach stuff. And books and blankies and pillows. We're just going to lay around or play around all day. I think there will be LOTS of laying around since I had a little nightmare last night and woke EVERYone in the house in an effort to wake mySELF up... Dustin and Emily and Eva may join us and a few other people. We'll see. At any rate, it's a gorgeous day and we aim to NOT labor in it.