Friday, December 28, 2012

Project Life and How it Works for Me

Two more weeks and I’ve wrapped up my 2012 Project Life album. In just the last few days I’ve been reminded how much I love this project as I watch my girls sit down with the first half of our 2012 album and show their visiting uncle and aunt the completed pages. I’ve been asked what working on the album looks like for me so this is a run down on how I work on it usually, always with the proviso that there are some weeks where I just can’t get to it and have to play catch up later. But, in general, this is what it looks like. : )
In 2012, I ran my week from Sunday through Saturday. At some point on Sunday I print photos from the previous week. First thing I do I draw a sketch of my page protectors.
PL planning
Then, I start filling in what I want to go where. I used to just print all the photos first and found that I could save time by planning (fancy that!) and paper and ink by not printing more than what I needed.
PL planning 2
This is when I try and make any photo collages I need to in Photoshop – the most time consuming part of the process for me but such a big help if I’ve got too many photos for my sleeves and not enough to justify an insert.
Next is journaling. I keep my PL journaling cards in these two little caddies that I picked up in the $1 section at Target.
I have the cards divided into sections with library cards so I can find something easily. In the red bucket are my original Project Life cards, i.e., the cards from my Project Life Core Kit - Clementine Edition (you can see how many I still have left!), 3x4 grid cards , cards that I have already printed my from, the folded journaling cards, and my Smash journaling cards (which I don’t use as much as I thought I would).
In the white bucket are the digital cards that I’ve purchased and printed from various scrappers. Some I’ve purchased:
The larger back slots on each side hold random labels, misc pattern paper scraps, and the 4x6 journaling cards and title cards that I need. This is what I work from weekly as I fill in the holes in my album for the most part, restocking different sections and reprinting when I need to. One thing that I am adding for 2013 is that Studio Calico Project Life kit that you subscribe to. I have never subscribed to kit before and it’s hard to find time for me to get to the scrapbook store (without little helpers anyway). I decided to give it a go this year – especially since I am saving some money by not buy the full Seafoam kit on Amazon (printing my own cards from the digi kit at home) and using American Crafts albums instead of the one that matches my kit since I use such an eclectic mix of cards anyway.
Anyway, now it’s just time to journal and stuff the pockets. If my munchkins let me, and I stay on task, I can usually put together a week’s layout in about two hours on Sunday afternoon or evening – and that includes picking photos, printing photos (and photoshopping what I need to), and doing my journaling. I get bogged down when I have a story that needs longer journaling or I have multiple inserts and some weeks that’s just how it is. If I can’t get it wrapped up on Sunday, then I try to find a pocket of time during the week to finish it … and sometimes it’s the following Friday afternoon or Saturday before I get another window. All to say, it doesn’t have to be a long and/or complicated process. Some weeks I have the time and desire to get a lot more creative with my albums and some weeks it’s just a matter of getting it done. : )
Let me know if you have any questions … I’m sure that there is something that I’ve left out, but the kids have finished their video, there is laundry to fold, and a grocery list to make so that we have food for next week. The stuff of life. : ) Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! Christmas Eve and Day were delightfully low key for us, and we’ve had family visiting for the days since. Today is our day to regroup back to the six of us and play a little much needed catch-up. Happy Friday!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Project Life Week 46 ::: November 25 – December 2

This was a super simple week in the album where I was just getting it in there and done. I have apparently been in a photo slump the end of November / early December at times so, if I recall I was struggling to get these pockets filled.
The full layout.
On the left:
  • Mama / N1 date while the little girls were at choir. Somehow we ended up at Barnes and Nobles.
  • My mom’s potato soup – one of the best batches that I have managed to pull off I think.
  • T replaced our front loading washer with this humongous top loading machine. I won’t ever go back to a front loader again. 
On the right:
  • sick B today. I don’t know the last time she took a nap, poor girl. She felt pretty lousy all day, but we were thankful it was only a little 24 hour bug.
  • School shot of N1.
  • Lunch out with some friends after Bible study on Friday. The boys were hamming it up for the camera.
  • Planning and planning and planning some more. (In retrospect it would have been nice if some of these plans would have actually happened.) : )
Cute little journaling card is from In a Creative Bubble shop. Love her cards.
And that’s all there was for Week 46 – it was a quick one! I’ve had a question about how I layout my week – get photos printed, when I do what, so I will try to blog that in the next few days!
Happy Saturday … a few last minute errands today with some of the girls, a little baking, and then some relaxing tonight I hope. Hope you are enjoying your day!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Christmas Daybook

Outside my window... rainy, dreary morning. The perfect kind of day to stay home in comfy clothes.


I am thinking... that it’s just not possible that Christmas is next Tuesday. This December has felt rushed and busy and has just slipped right by me. I had all sorts of plans for advent and Christmas and it just seemed like I didn’t have the time or stamina to get much of it done.

I am thankful... for this quiet-ish week that we have been enjoying. We wrapped up all our activities for the fall last week and this week has been blissfully empty of responsibilities (for the most part). A some dentist appointments for the girls and a few miscellaneous errands to restock the cabinets so we have something to eat, and you have the bulk of our outings out of the house. Wrapping up a little school this week for 2012 and the taking a Christmas break!

In the kitchen... I’m finalizing menus for next week. Some things that I hope will make an appearance:

I am wearing... pajamas. Must get moving on some real clothes here in a moment.

I am creating... oh, have I. : ) I have stayed up a couple nights this week and my Project Life album for 2012 is … ta-da! … completely caught up for the year! Two more weeks to go and I can literally close those books and start fresh for 2013. What a good feeling. T has been spending his evenings preparing a ton of music for this coming Christmas weekend at church (he has a caroling service, regular worship service, and Christmas Eve service to be ready for – yikes), so I didn’t feel too guilty scrapbooking upstairs … alone. : )

Catching up on #projectlife tonight and watching Miss Marple on Netflix.

A photo from one of my nights. Project Life in front of me and Miss Marple playing on the computer via Netflix. Not a bad way to spend an evening. : )

I am reading... this book. I’ve made it through the first chapter on love and want to just sit and ponder on it for a while. So far, excellent.

On my reading list for December.

I am hoping... for a white Christmas, but our 50 degree weather is not making that possible. : ) I just love winter (it may be my favorite) but we don’t usually get our real cold weather until January and February. Soon, I hope!

I am looking forward to... some of T’s family visiting with us next week!

I am learning… about the fruit of the spirit. See book above. : ) I praying / planning / moving towards a year studying the fruit of the spirit for myself and the girls (and boy). There is so much I don’t know about it and that along with the concept of abiding has been pressing on me for several weeks now. I’m eager to see where this takes me.

Around the house... we added in a new family member last week! Introducing Clyde, a dachshund (with a little bit of something else) puppy. He is seven months old and the calmest puppy I have ever seen. We all love him!

Introducing Clyde.

I am pondering... 2013. Plans, goals, et al. It’s that time of year, you know.

One of my favorite things... Little Women. Watching this last night with the girls for the first time and was reminded again of how much I adore this book and this version of the movie. It had been years since I had watched it and it resurfaced recently when straightening our DVD cabinet.

A few plans for the rest of the week…

  • a last dentist appointment to wrap up for this year.
  • a vet appointment for Clyde
  • finish up the grocery list to get us through next week (and a run to pick up what we need)
  • tidy up around the house
  • figure out where our company is going to sleep : )
  • and I’m sure many other things that I am forgetting…

A peek into my day...


Happy Thursday. : )

Thursday, December 13, 2012

2013 Reading to Know Bookclub

The word is out!

Carrie has posted the reading list and details for the 2013 Reading to Know Bookclub and I am excited about taking part again! You can see all the details here, but I’ll give a small spoiler and share that I’m hosting the month of July with a children’s classic that I’ve never read before.

Reading to Know - Book Club

Are you part of a bookclub? Online or off?

Happy Thursday. : )

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Project Life Week 47 // December 2-9

Why, hello there! Yes, I still do Project Life! : )
It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a PL post and I’ve missed sharing them. I am behind on several weeks of layouts but as we are in the final weeks of 2012, I’m in a full-court press to finish up my book so I can start fresh in 2013. Definitely sticking with this system another year.
Since I didn’t have to do any Classical Conversations prep on Monday night this week, I holed up in our school room and wrapped up THREE weeks of Project Life. Yay! This week (December 2-9) was by far the busiest of the three that I worked on with a total of FOUR additional inserts to get everything in that I wanted. I can tell it’s the season for extra activities, that’s for sure.
Please excuse the small bits of Christmas holly scattered throughout the album. A few things are hidden for privacy. : )
The overview.
On the left:
  • my date card is just a scrap of patterned paper with an instagram of my niece and N2.
  • a collage of Christmas kitchen activities – making chocolate covered pretzels and peppermint playdough for our CC friends and teachers.
  • a photo from the little girls’ Christmas concert on Sunday night.
  • our small group went caroling at a nursing home very near our house. T and N1 are here visiting with a group of delightful women.
  • another smaller pic of N2 singing on stage in her concert.
My first insert is some photos that I snapped of my singers in their outfits for the show. I cut down one of the Design B PL page protectors for this.
 PLwk47dweb PLwk47eweb
Insert #2! I used a 6x6 insert for a couple square instagram shots from our morning at CC. The front shows N1’s class performing in our tin whistle recital during the morning assembly. The back shows me with our other Abecedarian tutor and all our munchkins after our tin whistle recital. This is one of those moments where I wish I had had my big camera with me for a better shot, but yet thankful that my phone can capture a pretty decent picture in a pinch even though it’s a bit dark.
Insert #3! On Thursday of last week, we went with several homeschool friends to a production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown at the Nashville Children’s Theater. (Excellent!) Our friends from Hope is the Word drove up to attend the performance with us and then we enjoyed a long lunch at Chick-Fil-A catching up afterwards. So fun to get face-to-face time with my friend Amy! Our girls have been penpals for almost two (I think?) years now and they enjoyed playing together as well. Amy prefers not to post her munchkins faces online so they are tastefully hidden by the snowmen below. : ) (But it was a great picture of all six looking at the camera!) : )
There was one more insert, a regular 8 1/2 x 11 one, with the girls’ choir program in it, but I’m sparing you that photo. : )
On the right:
  • the “this week” card summarizing our activities.
  • the girls after face painting at Chick-Fil-A. Collage processed through PicFrame on my phone.
  • the bottom left is the munchkins with my niece on her 15th birthday. Love the photo bomb from one of the youth guys in the background. Hee.
  • a photo that I snagged off a friend’s FB page of B rehearsing with her class.
I have purchased a few digi kits for my December PL and December Daily albums and have been enjoying playing with my new cards. I have a weakness for digital journaling cards – being able to print them at home relatively inexpensively and quickly makes a great way to change up my album for not a lot of money. Above you can see:
And there you have week 47 all wrapped up. : ) How is your PL album coming along? Who’s planning on continuing in 2013?
Happy Wednesday!
Project Life is a product and a system created by Becky Higgins and available on It can be anything you want it to be. You can view all my posts about Project Life here. I'm always happy to answer questions about how Project Life works for me, if you have any.

Monday, December 10, 2012

December Reading

Before bed reading by the lights.

I feel like I need to start this post with the obligatory “how is it December already?” question. : ) No matter how incredulous I am, it is December and I have one more month of book-ish goals to wind up the year. November was a good month for reading for me! A small hiatus from Facebook led to (for me) an impressive six books finished last month. I don’t know the last time I read that much in a month.

My goals were:

  • continuing on with Dancing with My Father by Sally Clarkson I set this aside and forgot about it. I still really want to get to this one.
  • reading Life as Mom’s new cookbook Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze cookbook as well as… Loved this one! I marked a ton of recipes I want to make and have already made a couple. Delicious.
  • my More with Less cookbook that has been on my shelf for some time. Nothing says cozy reading to me like perusing cookbooks. Eh. I know lots of people swear by this cookbook, but there is a lot in here that my family just wouldn’t eat. It does have some great basic tips and bread recipes and for that I will hang on to it.
  • The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge. I picked up a copy at the library because Amy has been reading it with one of her girls. It’s been on my to-read list for a LONG time. Still on my nightstand….
  • revisiting Mitford. Maybe just one book, maybe the whole series. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve read the whole series and I miss those characters. Having a random thought that I might blog my Mitford-a-thon and, along with it, make some recipes from my Mitford cookbook. Hmmm. There’s a thought… : ) Yes! I reread book one and Mitford is still just as delightful as I remembered.

As you can see, I didn’t do much damage to my actual list that I started with. However, I also read:

Dug out my childhood copy of this one to read before seeing the movie next month. Had to use a little washi tape to put the cover back on first. :)
  • The Hobbit (or There and Back Again), J.R.R. Tolkien. This was a reread, but since the last time I read it, it was in around 6th grade, I'm counting it as new again! And, I do think I enjoyed it much more this time. : ) I now officially can’t wait until the movie comes out. The copy above is from my paperback set that my Dad bought when he was in seminary, i.e.. a LONG time ago. It need a little of my washi/scrapbooking tape love on the cover to keep it together for this read-through. : )
  • Jewel of Persia, Roseanna M. White (link to my review/comment at Reading to Know). Wasn’t crazy about this book but as it was only a little over $3 on my Kindle, it wasn’t a huge financial loss.

Finished this book of N1's this weekend. Super super cute. Hoping to borrow her sequel and start it today. :)

For December, my goals are:

  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I have never read this classic (for shame!) and as I’m up to the 4th chapter now in my post-kid-bedtime reading, I feel fairly confident I’ll finish this this month. I have to say Dickens is quite a bit funnier than I expected. FYI, reading this along with the Reading to Know bookclub for December … and I can’t wait until Carrie blogs her plans for 2013. : ) Also, FYI, I’m not reading from the copy below. Hee. : ) My book is the one in the top picture … I pulled this one off the shelf to hopefully entice small children with.


  • The Fruitful Wife: Cultivating a Love Only God Can Produce by Hailey DiMarco. Amazon offered me a copy of this book for a review and I took them up on it after Carrie (again!) posted a great review of it on her blog. Eager to get into this one because I’m sensing a fruit of the spirit theme will be happening around here starting the first of the year. More this soon I hope…

On my reading list for December.

  • Talking Back to Facebook: The Common Sense Guide to Raising Kids in the Digital Age by James P. Steyer. A friend of mine who makes her living running the social media websites for a well-known Christian media company just did a little class for parents on kids and social media at our church. I consider myself fairly social media savvy, but it’s given me much to think about (and made me very thankful I’m quite a few years away from this with my own munchkins!) Ironically, I recommended this book to her because I had heard good things about it and she reported back that it was great. It’s now purchased and waiting for me on my Kindle.

And that should hopefully wrap up 2012 quite nicely. More reading may get done than this. Who knows. : ) I would love get in two more solid weeks of school before we break for Christmas. This week holds a few evening activities for us, but our daytime / out-of-the-house activities decreased to only ONE this week for which I am very thankful. Last week was a whirlwind of fun but I need to do some work around the house this week … and it’s hard to do that when you are out having fun. : )

Happy Monday! It’s grey and rainy here today and we don’t have to leave the house once. Yay. : ) Plans are for some school this a.m. and some Christmas baking and snowflake making after lunch. Sounds good to me.

Past 2012 Monthly Reading Goals:

Monday, December 03, 2012

Choir Concert

Last night was our little girls’ choir concert. We take part in an amazing (free!) choir program at a local church and this year N2 and B were the only two taking part. (N1 asked to take a break from choir this year, but has asked to start back up in the spring).

A few pre-show shots take before church in the morning … it was going to be dark when the show rolled around at 5pm!

N2 was part of the “big kid” choir so she had a special t-shirt and bandana to wear.

12'02'2012h 12'02'2012iPj

The eyebrows appear in almost all her pictures now. They crack me up. : )


B’s class was to wear a Christmas dress so she and I went through our dresses last week to figure out what would fit her this year.




The girls had staggered drop-off / call times so my niece and I ran N2 over mid-afternoon and then I went back with B about a 1/2 hour before the show started.


They did such a great job. This was N2’s first year up on the risers with the big kids and it’s been a hard transition for her from the more intimate classroom settings that she had been in the previous couple of years. For a little homeschooled girl, who goes to a small church, to move to a big kid choir with over 100 kids of different ages and sizes has been a challenge for her, but she has stuck with it and I have been so proud of how she has worked to overcome some anxiousness about going each week. It also helps to have a best friend that you can stand and sing with. (Her BFF is to her left with the long dark hair).  



B’s class is only on stage for about three songs, but she had a part in one of them! We were sneaky and didn’t tell her aunt, cousins or Grandma about it to surprise them. So adorable.


And she just looks really little up there, too. : )


This has become an annual Christmas event for us and we are so thankful for the girls’ experience(s) in choir. Such a fun evening for our family.