Friday, August 31, 2012

Top Ten - Craft Supplies

Crafting Supplies

 Most people don't know where to start - there is an infinite amount of money you spend at Michaels on cardmaking or scrapbooking supplies. But you don't need everything. Only really a few key items will give you SO MUCH versatility and usefulness. I am listing my top picks for cardmaking/general crafting. This list would be a little bit different if you are more into actual scrapbooking.

1) Designer Paper. Suggestion: buy a "pack" of it, that is double sided, and all the colours coordinate. Stick with these colour themes, so make sure you pick something you love/with broad appeal. (Ie: colours include, purple, blue, green, white)

2) White cardstock. This will be the background/actual card, so make sure its a stiff lb of paper. Stampin' Up sells 80lb cardstock, which is just perfect, but harder to find at Michaels

3) Coloured cardstock. Suggestion: get one or two shades of cardstock, that will match with the paper you've selected. Perhaps opposite spectrum (male/female colours, like a purple and a blue)

4) Paper Trimmer/Cutter.

5) Dark Brown or Black ink pad.

6) 1 or 2 very multi-purposeful images (stamps). Suggestion: A large flower set, or something with geometric shapes. Something you can invision working for a ladies birthday card or a thank you card, or a thinking of you card, etc.

7) adhesive tape runner AND sticky strip (red backed double sided tape)

8) 1 or 2 shaped punches. Suggestion: a scallop circle, a basic flower, or a circle

9) 1 set of markers (crayola/crafting/anything) OR a few coloured ink pads. Suggestion: start with red, green, blue, purple. Either stamp your images in colour, or colour in an image stamped in black or brown.

10) A few small "3D" embellishments. Suggestion: a packet of buttons, or coloured brads, or a spool of thin twine

TIP: Don't buy a "words" stamp set, until you are very sure you will use it. It is very easy to pick a cool font, print off any wording you like, cut out, "frame up" on coloured paper, and adhere to card. 

Believe me, you can make unending amounts of things with just these few supplies. It will keep your husbands happy that you aren't blowing all the discretionary money too:-)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Prayers Needed

Follow, pray and be encouraged...

There are two people I know, going through incredible hardships right now. They are blogging about their journey and the beauty Christ is revealing to them through their trials. Check out their stories, commit to pray for them, and their families, and be encouraged in the Lord, as we witness the wisdom and grace He is giving to these remarkable ladies.

Sarah (Life & Grace) - Sarah is a personal friend of mine, (remember this baby shower?), who is walking through one of those moments in life you hope you never have to face...her precious baby Evie, due in November '12, has a condition that will - barring a miracle - take her life shortly after her birth. We are praying hard for that miracle. But also praying for God's best and His peace. Join Sarah as she writes about the ups and downs of her journey, and commit to pray for her, and baby Evie, every time you think of them.

Fawne (Beauty in Weakness) - Fawne is a remarkable young woman that knows my family, in Alberta. I have met her only once, when Kenna was a baby, and her son, Wyatt - born with handicaps and has since passed away - was also an infant. Last week, she lost a baby at around the halfway point in her pregnancy, and her journey and insight will both make you cry and make your heart soar. (She's been writing for awhile, you will love what you find as you hop around her blog).

I am heartbroken for these girls, and the pain they've endured already in this life. I do wish these were not their stories to tell. I wish that life for them (and all of us!) could be free of the pain of losing a child. But I know there's something in it for them (and me). I don't know why God allows these things to happen and shape our lives, but He is good, and He is great, and He is able to bless beyond measure, regardless of the wreckage we see laying around us. I'm praying hard for these families, their fragile emotions, and am blown away at the beauty that is shining through, as gold. That is something only God can do.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Phone Pics

Just a few summer moments I captured on my phone...
Grey, his very first dental cleaning

A cool bench at the community center

Sequins, jewels...This is how we get dressed up to go to Walmart:-)
Trying out a hammock on a pirate ship replica

Splash pads - brand new - opened right at the end of our street. No way! We love it!
And the end of summer... We have all the extra kids back now! Yesterday, we did leftover pizza for lunch, and had a perfectly coordinated naptime x6. Yay! We are not starting school yet, partially because I like to give it a week or so for everyone to get used to a new routine, and partially because the school books I ordered from BJU a few weeks ago have not arrived yet:-)


We had friends come through town on their way south last Thursday. We are at a good stopping point to break up a long trip with kids (hint hint to anyone heading south from Ontario / New York areas:-). Well anyway, these are *my* friends. I met them in Chicago, while working for the Advanced Training Institute - they were working there too. So was Brian. I thought for sure he had met them...I was there from 97-01, Brian was there in the Chicago location starting in 99...I guessed he missed meeting them, they left and got married in 99.

Of course I welcomed them, and their 5 kids...and when I get off the phone, Brian says "will I like them?" lol! No way! I thought for sure he knew them! Too funny. Well, he did like them (how could he not? We know the best people from there!), and we had a great night talking and reminiscing. All the kids got along famously!

Missing from the pictures are David & Erika of course, and then their two littlest, Aidan & Gavin (and Grey).
Graciella, Kenna, Lena, Brooks & Elliott

Lena & Kenna
We had a great evening, next time, we need to plan for a longer stay!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

New York City - Video

This post has a lot of pictures. I thought about breaking it up in multiple posts, but lost the motivation to sort all the picture (some phone, some "real"). I'll try to keep it as to the point as I can.

We decided to make a very quick trip up to NYC. Brian's fantasy football draft was on Saturday, and he wanted to draft in person with his friend, Josh, who lives in Manhattan. I wanted to go along for the ride!

We hosted a family - old friends - on Thursday night (post & pics to come), and took off Friday morning after they left around 9:15
somebody was tired on the drive up:-) It took us 7hrs to get there, thankfully they live *just* on the other side of the George Washington Bridge, so it's really as close as it could be to us.

driving, and happy for a road trip. They were very well behaved, and only got a little hyper between hrs 6 & 7. Note, never drive further than this until they're older.
We were essentially only in the city for one day (Saturday), so we tried to fit in as much as we could reasonably do, that was still of interest to the kids. There was quite a bit that *I* would have liked to do, but I knew it would be too much walking and not so fun/interesting for them. So first thing Saturday morning we took the train uptown a few stops to Broadway & Dyckman (Josh lives at Broadway & 142nd), and we went to the neighborhood where Brian's parents grew up. We let the kids play in the same park that Brian used to play in when he was a little boy. Sure enough, the park had all the exact same metal play structures as used to be there in the 80's!
Vintage park equipment. Brian used to play at this park when he was little!

Play time!
I bet this slide gets hot! This particular play structure was a newer addition to the park

They loved to get close to the pigeons. They must not be my children.
We walked across the street to take some pics in the courtyard of Grandma Kavanagh's building.
So pretty.

Grandma's entry on the left, and the entrance to the buildings & courtyard...Brian used to play wall ball in there, he says:-)

Another courtyard picture
About to get back on the train. Of course they are very fast and loud, and Grey was not a fan of that. They were on the subway in DC last year for the first time in their lives, but Grey was too young to remember it. Also note, I had to repeatedly say "don't pick up stuff off the ground", "don't rub the wheel of the stroller, they're dirty", and "don't put your mouth on that" ALL DAY LONG. They seemed to have no concept of things being dirty and having been touched by a million other people. Gross. Immune systems? Never been stronger. (I mention this, as Grey had been licking this railing, and I thought the pic caught him in the act, but I missed it)
We decided to take the kids to the Museum of Natural History. Josh's wife and 3 children were out of town visiting her family (bummer on the timing there, big time!), so we borrowed their seasons pass and hit the road! It was of course, amazing, and the kids had a blast.
Yay! Dinosaurs!

He was captivated. It was really neat to see him "get it". Again, we were at the Smithsonian in DC last summer, so the older kids have seen similar before, but Grey did not remember it at all.

Brian (green hat) on the ground, 3 kids up higher in the background. I could not get the entire dinosaur (an Apatosaurus) in a single picture. Massive is an understatement.
Grey love the skeletons, and kept exclaiming "dey bite my head off!! No, dey can't, dey in a cage!"

Grey said this was "a big wock (rock), wiff arms"

Trying to figure out what something is, hanging up on the ceiling

They thought Uncle Brent could hunt this!

Grey requested a picture of this little guy. "He's sooooo cute!"
The window vignettes are simply amazing

Elephants! A whole herd of them
We needed to break for lunch, and given the enormity of the building, I figured it would be faster and easier to eat in the museum, than to leave and find food elsewhere, and return...
This meal cost $23, and fed all four of us. I have never been so grateful for kids that don't eat a lot! lol. I'd have been broke otherwise!

A big huge head

Huge whale in the background there, thanks to another museum patron for volunteering to take our picture...I made it IN one!

It's a mammoth, like in Ice Age:-) We borrowed Ruby Jane's awesome stroller (Josh's daughter) to get around town with ease.
Brian left us at the Museum right before lunch, and went to meet up with Josh for some male bonding time:-) Josh and Brian have been friends since they were about 12 I think, and Josh is a district manager for Starbucks in NYC. He actually opened and managed the brand new flagship store in Times Square, and once he got it running and off the ground, he left that one store to manage many, many stores. He and Brian took a little tour around to visit some of Josh's stores.
Here is Josh & Brian, at the 30 Rock Starbucks (Rockefeller Center). This is one of his stores!
Living in NYC would be quite an adventure, with little kids. Kudos to Heather (Josh's wife), I'm sure she has it all down to a science. I'm new to this idea --last time I was in NYC was in 2004, and I had no children. Easy peasy. Add in multiple children and you need eyes everywhere and very obedient children...and you have to walk a lot...and you have to take the trains...all the subway are obviously underground and accessed by stairwells from the street. There are no elevators. Stroller fun. While Brian was with me, we carried it down. I was left to make my way home from the Museum sans help, as the boys were off doing their thing. This was fine with me entirely. I can read maps, I can follow directions, I don't get lost easily, and I'm not nervous or scared about navigating my way through the city. We had to walk about 3 blocks / 15 minutes to get from the museum to the subway (I needed the Red 1 train, and had arrived from a different way on the C train, since we came from Grandma Kavanagh's but were returning to Josh's) Anyway, it was a few minutes to get there. Grey promptly fell asleep...
So I had Kenna & Brooks go down the stairs and wait against the wall at the bottom. I strapped the bag across my shoulders, held the sleeping child (heavy as lead) in one arm and pulled the bouncing stroller along behind me. I would have asked for help, but no one else was going down. It was fine and he stayed asleep. Getting back off the train, I did the same thing coming up, stroller bouncing along behind me - Kenna and Brooks behind me this time, and I surpassed another 2 ladies trying to wrangle their stroller up the steps. I have some sore muscles today:-) But I do think that if I had to, I could do it. I always wondered how on earth people did it, and now I know. It's lots more work, but doable
Another joy of living in the Josh and Heather have a sweet 4 bedroom apartment. With a verrrrrry long hallway. This was so much temptation for my kids to run. I mean, a hall like that is *meant* for running races, isn't it? Well, maybe, but not if you live on the second floor, and to quote Josh "walk like a toddler who's the weight of a kindergartener" lol. Grey is an elephant! The downstairs neighbour actually came up to complain about him. Ooops! We tried very hard to learn how to walk quietly. We have renters upstairs, so we know how to BE quiet, not how to WALK quiet:-)
Great hallway, with the bedrooms and bathrooms coming off of it all the way down.
There was quite I bit I want to do in the city - Go to Central Park (location of our engagement), and go to the Statue of Liberty, visit the Times Square Starbucks Josh opened (kind of a big deal!)...
But only being there one day I wanted to do something the kids would enjoy, and not walk them to death looking at things they don't care about. Starbucks at home! Times Square another time!
We arrived home late afternoon to discover the "boys" deep in preparation for their fantasy football draft. They spent the afternoon touring the city a little, but had to allow themselves enough time to study.
If you didn't know better, you might think they were really working hard...which actually they were. Lol. This is a serious league for them (12 teams, all friends/guys that we worked in Chicago with). Serious, serious business. I was actually told during the draft that I could help myself to the their food, as long as I did not speak. It was said in jest. But I knew better and kept my mouth shut, lol!! They intended to go out and celebrate the draft after it was done (for dinner), but after-drafting calculations and projections kept them busily involved until midnight!
And Sunday morning, we left around home at 6pm. It was a GREAT trip and we loved it so much! A huge thank you to Josh for hosting us, and a big we missed you to Heather, Joey, Bobby & Ruby Jane. Thanks for letting us use all your toys & stroller. Next time, I am determined to stay for more than one day!
Brian bought these glasses in the city, while he was NOT WITH ME. I hate them. $10 wasted, in my opinion. hah!! He maintains he likes them...blech

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Swim Date!

We had a swim date with some friends today - in a salt water pool! Kinda cool!

Friends, playing hard and enjoying each others company


Ok, try again, Smile!

Ok, don't smile, just say "Peterbilt"...ahhh, perfect:-)

Playing for HOURS in the water! Brooks looks about 120 years old:-)

Our cutie friend, Giavanna. Grey adores her

Abram! Say cheese!

Monday, August 20, 2012

New Bunks

First night in their "new" (handmedown) bunk beds!

I'll post more & better pictures of their room and bedding, once I get it all together (for example, I need to buy adult pillows x4 for all their new pillowcases - no more toddler sized pillows!). But I coudn't miss a pic or two of them in their new beds on the first night:-)

bottom bunk! He looks so little in such a big bed

top bunk!

in process - we set up the bunk beds, and decided to build the boys a rope ladder hanging from the ceiling, instead of a traditional ladder - because who wouldn't love that?! Brian's drill press wasn't powerful enough to make it through the rods. It took forever to make these 2 holes...he'll have to finish the others at the shop. Yes, that is one right up at the ceiling, so they can have something to hang onto at the top.

1st nap, top bunk!