A Happy Holidays surprise!!

My boys have been sharing a room.  It's pretty small.  I mean, big enough for them when one dresser would hold all their tiny little sleepers and they had a small box of baby toys to play with....but as they've become avid readers (filling bookshelves up with books), and their lego collection has grown beyond healthy, and their pants have grown to fit 9 & 11 year olds instead of toddlers....the room has seemed to shrink.  My daughter, on the other hand, has been anxious to purge (her room and life) and she's had her eye on a bedroom in the basement.  Her options down there were  a.) an old office/storage room that would require quite a bit of insane cornering with drywall, heat duct cutting and all sorts of renos I'm not prepared for  or b.) my old scrapbook room which is an easier reno.  Swayed only slightly by adult logic, she chose B.

So this:

moved to here:  a (temporary?) home for my scrapbooking out in the rec room.  The kids seem to like it out here because they can join me at my giant tables (I think they're re-purposed school computer lab tables) and I can be with them while they're watching TV in the basement. 

and the room above turned into this:

 That colour, my friends, is Snow Cone Green.  And yes, it's that bright IRL. The ceiling (not shown LOL) and window and closet are drywalled thanks to my friend Maria's husband Phil, and mudded and taped thanks to my friend Ange's husband Keith...thanks guys - it was a HUGE gift!! The door was hung and the light fixture installed by my go-to neighbour Trevor...thanks so much!!  The bedding is from Target. Thanks for picking it up for me Bev :)  It is one of the deep regrets of my life that I don't live closer to a Target. The day bed is from Maria - thank you so much Maria...she loves it!!  The desk and hutch are MCC finds which she's quickly filling up with art supplies.
 This hutch stayed in the room.  It was in my parents' farmhouse when my Dad bought the farm in '66...it's been a variety of colours and used for a variety of things but when my parents retired off the farm I fought long and hard to get it :)  I have such great memories of this hutch.  The bottom doors held my Mom's fabric and sewing stuff and old magazines and newspapers that we could look through and use for crafts.  The drawers held my Dad's "important papers" (right) and my Mom's "pretty stationary" - both of which were off-limits, and therefore fascinating to me as a kid.  The top doors held Mom's China and fancy dishes. Oh, and right across the top of the front right corner, when I was a kid, there was a black strap.  Just lying there, peeking over the edge.  I remember having Mom or Dad just kinda glance up and the strap and we'd know....stop it, or else LOL.  Ahhh...good old fashioned discipline - a truly lost art.  I turned out OK, I think :)  Anyway....the hutch is now in Mica's room.  Bottom will be dresser, top will be special books.  She's going minimalist so there'll be a ton of books for sale in the near, near future :)

 Mica's not the only one who loves the new room - Wasabi has taken up permanent residence under her desk, and occasionally under her bed.  This carpet has a story of it's own.  It's one of many of my God-moments this winter.
Mica, always the agreeable one, knew that this reno was going to be on a tight budget.  She knew I was looking for a scrap of carpet, and as such, would have almost no say in what it looked like.  She did though, mention that, if she could choose, someday, she'd love thick shag, like Grandma's house - in a dark chocolate brown.  I was so sad that that wasn't something I wasn't going to be able to custom order for her but that was definitely not in the budget.  So, I searched and searched for carpet scraps and every email I sent out they said, "Sorry, sold already," or it wasn't the right size, etc. I'd found mis-cuts in town here but they were in the $200 range - not really good enough.  Finally, this past Sunday, I had no kids for the day and the opportunity to drive into the city.  I debated long and hard about it because I HATE driving to the city without a bunch of errands to take care, especially this close to Christmas, and I'd been sick so the chance to nap instead was quite appealing.  But, I decided to take the trip.  First Home Depot I stopped at, I asked if they had any mis-cuts.  The guy said, "Probably not...we try not to, but let me check."  
Oh...I should mention - the room I was redoing is 9'x13'.  
So, we go to the back.
They have ONE scrap.
It's 9.12" x 13"
Chocolate Brown.
I'm pretty sure that's not all coincidence :)
It wasn't free...but it was nowhere near the $200 carpet in town. 

So, once again...we are blessed beyond what we asked for or imagined.
I'm pretty sure that's what Paul's talking about when he refers to God as...

 "...him who is able 
to do immeasurably more 
than all we ask or imagine, 
according to his power 
that is at work within us..." 

Ephesians 3:20 


So, that's my holiday reno story.  Next phase, once she's totally moved in, is to separate the boys and get them set up.  But first....tomorrow is Christmas at our house.  There's a flu bug going around so we're spending the day in PJs and hopefully getting a lot of rest!

Happy Holidays


I missed Multitude Monday again, didn't I?  I have a zillion things to be thankful for again but some of them I can't say out loud yet because Christmas is in a couple of days and I don't want to ruin any surprises for my kids in case they read my blog.

So...today - just this:
I made this canvas for a friend of mine who owns SRM Press Stickers.  I love their product for card-making especially but this home decor piece went really fast with a quote from their Nature stickers.
Here's the post:

Clear Scraps Holiday Card Inspiration BLOG HOP!!!!

Hey!  Welcome here!
You probably got here from Tonya's blog on your way through the  
Clear Scraps Holiday Card Inspiration BLOG HOP!!!!
If you didn't and you accidentally stumbled upon this blog hop - you might want to go back and start at the beginning here:  Rita http://letsembellish.blogspot.com/

Comment on each blog, then head back to the Clear Scraps blog.
There is a special prize for one lucky winner!

 I've been making Christmas cards and tags for the last couple of months already and most of them are already sent or stocked in the stores who generously allow me to sell my cards so I made a special one just for you blog hoppers today!

This Christmas tree is a single page of 5 that come in the Mini-Ornament Albums that Clear Scraps sells.  They're awesome as mini albums but as a card-maker, I always rip mine apart as soon as I get them so I can use them all on individual cards!  They're also perfect this way for classes if you want a quick card class or a birthday party craft!

OK, enough talking.
Here it is:

I covered it in Pintura Metalizada (metallic paint) by Viva Decor in Pistachio and then when it was dry, I brushed on a thin layer of their Peridot-Light-Green 3D Glitter Gel.  One layer of paint is never enough - that's my theory.  The rest is all smoke & mirrors...I mean beads & wire.

Here is the Blog Hop List
you are here-------->>>>>>> Cathy http://cathysartblog.blogspot.com/
your next stop-------->>>>>>> Hilde http://scrapworld.web-log.nl/scrapworld/
then end here at:   Clear Scraps!

Leave a comment on all the blogs
for your chance to win a prize (that you'll get to choose) from Clear Scraps
*winner will be chosen on Monday*

Happy Holidays!

Sick Week...

I feel just a little silly about this but thought you'd get a kick out of it -
I've just had 7 sick days in a row.
I had a cold...I know...we all have them.  So, because I was kinda miserable and because I work with some students with low immune systems, I took off last Thursday and Friday.  That should have been enough you'd think, but then on the weekend I was pretty sure it was turning into a sinus infection which I have on a regular basis.  By Sunday morning  I was very sure.  Unfortunately, I was nowhere near my own doctor so I went to see a walk-in doctor in my parents' hometown where I was staying for the weekend (Christmas gathering).  He said, "not an infection," (D'oh) but also he said, "highly contagious" and that going to work wasn't a good idea so, I asked him to write me a note (because my school division requires one by the 3rd sick day).  I thought he was writing one that said I could take "up to" 5 more sick days if I needed them....but what he actually wrote was "5 more sick days" and so when I forwarded the note to my school division, they then insisted that I take the full 5 days unless I wanted to get another doctor to write me another note that said I was able to come back to work early.  I thought about it but a.) this cold really did drag on until today and I really did need the week  and b.) getting an appointment in this town is like winning the lottery...it might have been April by the time I got one and then I would have had to pay for a note anyway.  
So, I've had a week off.  I've napped.  I've been on all kinds of great cold meds.  I got some scrapbooking done for the brand new stuff Clear Scraps is putting out at CHA this coming January.  I painted my daughter's new bedroom in the basement.  I installed closet shelving, painted out a desk hutch, did laundry and dishes several times, finished some Christmas shopping and wrapping, made cookies...all kinds of things that I was able to do in between coughing fits, blowing my nose, and napping.  
Sadly, there are no paid sick days from my Mom job :(
Here are my new best friends:
Yummy and warm.....this makes me sleepy
I LOVE the menthol Dristan :)

I have my own bottle of this in the house so I can drink straight from the bottle....I just have to make sure I have a full 8 hours to sleep this off otherwise I'm groggy and dazed for the first part of the next day.  I also have to take it on my way to bed because I'm woozy after a few minutes.

So, the weekend's here and I'm nearly as good as new!
Just in time for a 3-day week of school and 2 weeks of Christmas holidays!!

Multitude Monday - Dec. 13

171-180/1000 of things I'm thankful for.

#171: Christmas.  In all honesty, who isn't thankful for Christmas for some reason or another?  I don't love the busy-ness of the season but I do love the reason of it.  It's good for people like me, who've been Christians since they were itty-bitty, to stop and think about it a little longer than usual; stop and remember and re-read the message; stop and sing about it and teach it to my own kids.  What an amazing thing that God came to be with us - that He'd rather be with us as a crying, drooling little baby, than not have us with Him for eternity.  Amazing.  I'm thankful for Christmas.

#172:  Family.  Somehow, in this season, this goes hand-in-hand with the last one.  We had our family gathering this past weekend with my side of the family.  I love those people.  Mom, Dad...my brother....we're a small crew, and we're vastly different in many ways, but I love them.

#172:  Generosity.  When I see it in action, anywhere, it almost always brings me to tears.  I think it's one of the greatest witnesses we can have - being generous with our time, our things, our selves.

#173:  Grandma:  At this point, she doesn't always remember who I am, or who my kids are....but she always has her hands out for a hug and she knows that she's been praying for us.  I know she won't be around for that much longer....and she's definitely anxious to be home with her Lord, but I'm thankful for this woman!
This photo is my kids with her this past weekend.

#174: Chicken & Rice soup :)
I'm sick....I can't remember having a cold hit me this hard, ever.  The doc says it's not a sinus infection and the best thing to do is let it heal so I've been given a week off work to let my body do that.  I feel a bit silly staying at home when really, I could be working....but he classified me as "highly contagious" and since I work with high needs kids and often kids with compromised immune systems....this is probably best for everyone.  I'm hoping the extra sleep will get me well for Christmas holidays!

#175: Friends with skills.  And friends whose spouses have skills.  This is a new thing for me, trying to do things on my own at home and I'm extremely thankful for friends who've offered to help out with things around the house that I'm not totally comfortable doing.  I have one friend working on fixing the fan in my laptop (not my area of expertise). I have a friend who, together with her husband, have helped me move furniture.  I have another friend's husband who dry-walled for me and another friend's husband who's mudding and taping in my basement for me.  I will never, ever be able to pay you people back.  Ever.  I hope that someday I can pay it forward and help out others who may need skills that I have.

#176: Tools!  I now have some tools :)
My dad: former farmer, bus driver, welder, fix-it man extraordinaire...dug through his hefty collection of tools and put together a little pile for me.  I haven't needed to use any yet but it feels so good to know they're there and I don't have to find a neighbour with a pair of pliers or a flat screwdriver every time I need one.  Oh...and I got a cordless drill for Christmas....I'm really, really exited about that.  I'm almost tempted to put something up on the wall just to see if it works :)  I won't....I'll control myself.

#177:  Scrapbook Stash.  It was my goal this Christmas to supply all the stores that sell my cards with Christmas cards made entirely of my stash and not buy any product.  And, I did it.  I made so many Christmas cards this year - I'll probably even have leftovers for next year.  I'm a little sick of one or two of the lines of paper b/c I've used the entire line up twice now but I did it.  It felt a little like the widow's oil....I wondered for awhile if I'd have enough and then as I kept going and going making cards, there seemed to be no end in sight.  It's either a sad report on how much stash I really do have, or a testament to how God provides for me :)  I'll choose to believe the latter.

#178:  Peace & Quiet:  If I listen closely these days....that's what I hear and that's what I feel in this house.  Peace.  And Quiet.  I love it. 
#179:  Homework.  I sure wasn't thankful for it when I actually had it....and my kids probably would argue this one but I'm so thankful for a.) teachers who expect much from my kids and b.) work that I can actually see them do here at home.  It's a different experience than just walking into Parent/Teacher interviews a couple of times a year and seeing what they've done.  Tonight I watched my middle son work on a project from the moment he came home until the moment I finally made him go to bed.  He even took it to Trev's to work on a little in between.  The reason it is taking him so long?  He's artistic, slightly perfectionist and very, very meticulous.  And I'm fascinated watching him work.  I love this side of him that I get to see when he's got work that he has to do at home.  And I love the discipline it teaches him.  I'm so proud of him.

#180:  Eggnog.  Yum.  Enough said.

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A week of concerts

 Mica's been working hard this past term to prepare for several concerts and as luck would have it, they all happened this week.  On Tuesday night, she sang with the Hanover Symphony Singers.  They performed with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra during their Holiday Pops concert tour.  It was amazing.  The WSO, as usual, was phenomenal. The choir, after only 4 rehearsals...did amazing! 

 Next up:  Thursday's Junior High Band and Choir Concert.  She's a clarinet player and although practicing is not her favourite thing to do (is it anyone's?) she was prepared and had a great time.  I went to the 2pm performance and the boys went to the evening performance with Trev & his parents.


 I was sitting a little far away to get good pictures of her during the choir portion but...these will have to do.

Now that it's all over, she's relieved....I think she's a lot like me - not loving the BUSY that comes at this time of year.  But she did great under the pressure of having something up every night.  I'm hoping to get this girl some well-deserved nights off in the very near future!

Love you Mica!  You did awesome!

Multitude Monday - Dec 6

161-170/1000 of things I'm thankful for.

#161:  My friend Lynette. We are a lot of things to each other - this amazing woman and I - we rescue each other when we're out of an ingredient and in the middle of cooking, we watch each other's property when the other is on holidays, we talk about all manner of deep things, we feed each other's families,  we bail each other out when one of us can't be home in time for our kids.  On top of all that, she inspires me on a regular basis to be a better person, to keep on going and to always be in the Word.   Check out her blog - she's doing Multitude Monday too...and she's a phenomenal photographer...I promise you'll be inspired.

#162: Scrapbook Magazines that love me :)  I've been published in many magazines but it's been a bit of dry spell so to have some requested this Fall/Winter was a great treat.  These 2 just came out in the latest issue of Scrapbooking & Beyond:

#163: Birthday boys:
I have 2 boys with birthdays in December.  That was not my plan originally but really...who can plan these things :)  They're 2 years apart and the best of friends.  They love all the same things which makes parties, and specifically, the birthday supper, easy because they both want to go to the same place.  This year, AGAIN:  Montanas - in large part, due to the funky hats :)

#164:  Purging.  I'm in purge mode.  My house and my life.  I'm selling off jeans I no longer wear, scrapbook stickers I'm not using, DSs and games that are no longer played around here.  And I'm purging from my life too.  I'm slowly figuring out how to get rid of anger, pride and depressed thoughts.  I'm figuring out how to pare things down so that I can see what's really important.  Honestly, every single time I throw something out or sell something, I can see just a little bit clearer.  That may sound funny but it's true.  I am in purge mode.

#165. Speaking of purging.  This verse jumped out at me this morning as I was reading in Isaiah.  The first line that jumped out at me sounded horrific....coming from God....that he would turn his hand against me....especially now when I need him for me if ever I did.  I know He's good, so how is it that Him turning His hand against me might be for my good?  Then I kept reading and in light of my purge-mode mentality, it all made sense to me.

Isaiah 1: 25-26
"I will turn my hand against you; 
I will thoroughly purge away your dross 
(earlier in v. 22 it says that "your silver has become dross and your choice wine is diluted with water") 
and remove all your impurities...
...Afterward you will be called 
the City of Righteousness, 
the Faithful City."

I'm still convinced that God doesn't allow hurt & pain in our lives to make things worse than they were, but to lead us to him and to make things ultimately better.  I'm even more convinced than ever that purging my life of the dross and impurities that are messing up what could be pure silver and choice wine, even though the process may be painful, will ultimately lead to beauty, and glory for God.

#166:  Handmade Christmas gifts.  A.) they're saving me some money this year.  B.) they've been ultra fun to make and I think, they'll be more meaningful than ever.

#167:  My bed.  I can't wait to get into it every single night.  It's soft and comfy, cool and stacked with blankets...just the way I like it.

#168:  Jeans on sale.  Yay for a Bootlegger card that this week, got me 40% off Silver Jeans!  I will never buy jeans anywhere else again.

#169:  Everyone home.  I love when my busy day and the kids' busy days all conclude with the 4 of us together, all tucked in and anticipating sleep. 

#170:  Tears.  I've cried my share in the last few months and I know how cleansing they can be.  Tonight there are tears from my DD as she sags into my arms and expresses her anger and frustration, her fatigue and feelings of being overwhelmed with everything her life holds right now.  I'm not exactly thankful for all of that stuff that stresses her out but I'm thankful for her tears and that she comes to me with them.  Pray for me that I'll, in turn, lead her to God with those tears.

Birthday boys

December birthdays.
I love 'em, and hate 'em at the same time.
It's the busiest month of the year and there's always an element of feeling like I'm not able to give anything at all in December my full attention because there's 1oo other things going on at the same time. So for that reason, having both boys' birthdays in December isn't fun. But, they're so good about it. They both love the same things and often end up having similar parties and similar wish lists that it's almost like having twins. Again this year they chose Montana's for their birthday meal. I'm not sure at what age they'll outgrow wanting to wear these crazy horn-helmets but for now, they're happy to do it and loving the food there so we went. Egan ordered his own plate of ribs and a side of beans.....so much more grown up than when every meal out was Mac & cheese or chicken fingers. Cale's still a pasta-guy but at Montana's he gets to make his own choices on sauce and toppings. They did great - they looked right at the waitress, spoke clearly and ordered their own food - I'm so proud.

After taking pictures last night I realized...they both look like they could use haircuts.
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Multitude Monday - November 29th

Once again it's been awhile since I've posted.  My "weekly" Multitude Mondays have become monthly at best.  But...I'd love to change that. For those of you just joining me LOL....this is my attempt to share 1000 things that I'm thankful for. Some are deep, some are funny, some are everyday and some are miraculous but I really do have so many things to be thankful for that I would easily be able to come up with a thousand.  Now, if I could only get around to blogging about them on a more regular basis. 
I'm up to 150 so let's dive in and start at #151.

I'm thankful for:

#151:  Maria.   This woman is an amazing friend.  How is it that you're only making my list here at 151?  We have a weekly coffee/crafting/chitchat date and when we missed the last 2 weeks it nearly broke me....you keep me sane.

#152:  Sewing.  I'm thankful to my Mom who taught me to sew early in life and I'm thankful for a good sewing machine.  A couple of weeks ago I found this very large selection of thread at my thrift store and I can't wait to get some of these funky colours on some cards and layouts.

#153:  A zero balance.  I cut up a whole whack of credit cards about 2 years ago....it felt so good to pare down the wallet.  Then with all the changes around here, I had to do some paying off and get a card in my own name....and here's my latest bill: 
 I feel like skipping back from the mailbox when I see stuff like this....or doing one of those off-to-the-side cowboy jumps :)  

#154:  Starbucks.  How is it that we're such a big town/city and we still don't have a Starbucks?  It's probably a good thing actually....I don't need to be tempted every single day - but I am growing a cute little collection of all-things-Starbucks.  I found this beauty at....where else?...the thrift store, a couple weeks ago.  It's gigantic....seriously - probably a litre of liquid would fit in here - perfect for those :late-night-gotta-get-it-done" sessions....or those "early-morning-wish-it-was-a-snow-day" days. 

 #155:  Homemade gifts.  I actually had a birthday during my little no-blogging month and one of my co-workers at school....a very thoughtful friend gave me these 2 little jars filled with coffee she chose for me.  Yum.  If you've ever done the "5 Love Languages" you'll understand that gifts are some people's love language - that's how they feel loved.  It's not mine.  I like gifts, don't get me wrong, but it's not getting gifts that makes me feel most loved.  Having said that - I love gifts like this - not extravagant, just enough to let me know you are thinking of me.  This gift, I'm absolutely sure, came with a great deal of care and prayer behind it - those are the best kinds!  Thanks L!

#156:  A perfect fit.  Renovating my basement is going to be a much longer endeavor than originally planned which means my little dream of built-in cupboards under my stairs are a long, long way from coming to fruition.  Still, I needed to make good use of this space - especially if I'm leaving my scrapbook room with a closet and moving out here into the Rec room.  So....I took my measurements and, armed with a tape measure, I went to my favourite furniture store - the MCC store.  I found this old kitchen cabinet piece.  It looked really funny, odd shelf set up, etc...and I couldn't quite figure it out, but it measured right and it was nice & deep, so I picked it up.  When I got it home, I chopped out 2 of the shelves to make 2 large shelves instead of 4 short ones.  I also pulled the countertop off and snapped off the backsplash.  When I brought it downstairs is JUST fit.  Just.  In fact, it was about 1/2 cm. too tall and I couldn't figure out how to get it in there and then my youngest son said (as he watched me struggling to shove this under the stairs) - "mom...it's too bad you have carpet on the floor there because I bet if there wasn't carpet, it would fit"  Duh! So, I rolled back the carpet there (it's only a temporary roll end anyway), slid the cupboard in and trimmed the carpet to fit.  Done.  And, the counter top slid right in on top. 
 Oh, and when I finally had it set up and cleaned.....THAT's when I realized it actually fit my 12x12 albums.  Yesssss!

 #157:  Fun crafts.  I've been saving Kool-aid jammer bags from my kids lunches for a long time and finally found a pattern to make this cute little bag.  It's going to be my lunch bag for school :)

#158:  These photos.  My friend Maria's Dad is an amazing photographer and this is the second time that he's given us his time and talent and taken family photos of us.  It was so fun to do this...again we chose a chilly November day but still - very fun.  

#159:  GLEE.  What a crazy concept for a show.  I wish it was a little more kid-friendly b/c I think for the most part the kids would love it.  I've shown them several of the music portions of the show and they love it - especially Mica who is finding singing to be a great part of her life right now.  I loved the wedding last week - watched it several times and bawled through both of the Bruno Mars songs - I'm such a big baby :)

#160: Blog Simplicity.  I just recently pared down my life a little but moving both my blogs together into this one.  A.) it's one instead of 2 to keep up and B.) it's under my correct google ID so I don't have to keep logging in and out to check my email or blog.  Sheesh...what a pain.  I'm applying the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) theory to my life right now - and I'm loving how it's all working out :)

There you go. 10 more.
I could go on but I'm actually very much looking forward to getting to bed early tonight!

Operation PJ Day

Do you ever feel like you're just one step behind all day long? I've been feeling like that for a couple of weeks now - partly it's because there's been one or more kids coughing through the night for about that long which means Mama doesn't get a full night's sleep either; partly it's because it's this season where everything piles up (concerts, rehearsals, work, gatherings, shopping, etc., etc.); and partly it's just trying to get my footing doing this season by myself here at home.
Whatever the reason, I've been feeling just slightly behind on everything.
And I notice it in my kids too.
Mica actually articulated it to me the other day by saying, "I just feel like this mom," and then she proceeded to run on the spot, slightly tipping forward like she was about to lose her balance. "I hear ya baby, I hear ya!" I said....and we talked a little about the changes this time of year is going to have in it....and how we can pare things down a little and make life workable.

SO, as per our conversation that day....today we had a PJ day. We skipped church. We never did end up getting dressed (although there were some play dress-up clothes later on in the day). I had to answer the phone once and the doorbell once but it was a friend from down the street with some product we'd ordered together so that was a nice surprise to have it arrive already. Plus, she's seen me in my PJs before so there was no need to stress :) And, our day consisted of whatever we wanted to do. We watched a movie, we played a game, we made our first batch of Christmas cookies, I made cards for awhile, we set up our Christmas tree, we watched most of the Grey Cup and ate snacks, we did art together. I even had a nap at one point with the kitten :) What a great day. We did miss a tobaganning invite from some friends but I'm hoping that will work out again soon and that this day of getting rested and healthy will pay off so we can enjoy more outings like that soon!

These are our favourite Christmas cookies. Some people call them "Grandma cookies." If you're from around here at all or have Mennonite in your history, these are also called "Plain White Cookies." Creative, I know....but the cool part is decorating them - yummy icing and whatever sprinkles the season demands. We went with green sugar crystals this time around but they've been known to have pink hearts for Valentine's day, yellow & purple at Easter, even black on orange icing for Halloween. Absolutely no nutritional value here, people...just pure, unadulterated Christmas cookie goodness.
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Welcome here!

If you're reading this post, you have most likely successfully navigated your way here from one of my two previous blogs:  My life...so far  and   My art...so far.  
With my life in purge-mode right now, 
one of the things that I've been hoping to do is cut down to one blog that I need to maintain.  
And so...aptly named...this is: 
All of me... (my life, and art) so far.  
This blog will definitely still showcase the art I'm creating - layouts and projects for magazines, cards that I'm selling, simple therapy art and whatever else happens to come from happy, happy time spent in my scraproom.  BUT, this blog will also be the place you hear about my life:  my 3 amazing kids, my job as an EA, my adventures with friends, the neighbourhood I live in, and my journey with God.

This post will eventually fall to the bottom, I know so I'm going to put this verse in a sidebar eventually as well but I have to share it here - the verse that is encouraging me every single day as I live in expectancy of what God will do with my life.  It's from kind of an obscure book of the Bible...not one that I would normally turn to first.  And yet somehow, when I stumbled across it - it rang true to me.

"Look at the nations and watch--and be utterly amazed. 
For I am going to do something in your days 
that you would not believe, even if you were told."
Habakkuk 1:5
I love knowing that God is in control...and that he has a plan for my life that includes drawing me closer to him and surprising me with blessings I could not imagine.
Thanks for finding me, or finding me again, and for joining me on this journey!

A deep thought from my morning

I went out of coffee with a group of my co-workers last night to celebrate my up-coming birthday. They're so sweet. It's not something we do for every EA that works at my school....but this group of women have surrounded me these days and are making sure I feel wanted, special and loved. I love you guys too!! They shouldn't have - but 2 of them brought me gifts. I'm using them both as we speak :) Coffee, really-really good coffee from one friend and a brand new coil-bound journal from another. I was almost done my current journal but, like I told them last night - it isn't a coil-bound one and it doesn't feel right in my hands. I'd been considering just ending it and going out to buy a new one that felt right when I was holding it - there's something about the feel of The Right journal. Anyway....the last few pages of my old one will remain empty and the new one is now broken in!!

I'm reading this book right now

and wanted to share a passage of it with you because I'm re-reading this passage for the 3rd morning in a row to try to get it to sink in. I've added italics and bold in some places for emphasis.

"It's hard to hear, but it is important to know that God is not committed to supporting our ministries, to preventing our divorces, to preserving our health, to straightening out our kids, to providing a livable income, to ending famine, to protecting us from agonizing problems that generate in our souls an experience that feels like death.

"We cannot count on God to arrange what happens in our lives in ways that will make us feel good.

"We CAN count on God to patiently remove all the obstacles to our enjoyment of Him. He is committed to our joy, and we can depend on Him to give us enough of a taste of that joy and enough hope that the best is still ahead to keep us going in spite of how much pain continues to plague our hearts.

"God's intense desire is to intimately relate with us. For His desire to be realized, He must remove the obstacle within us that, more than any other, stands in the way of intimacy with Him.

That obstacle is this:
When we feel bad, when our internal experience as we live in this world is different from and less than what we know we were created to feel, we assume there is no higher value than to change that experience. We therefore devote our central energies to feeling better and to justifying whatever does the job.

The belief that there's no higher good than feeling better now, and the top priority URGE to feel better now - these represent the single biggest obstacle to our enjoying God's Presence. The Bible calls it The Flesh.

Whew....a lot for me to consider - what in this world have I been using to make myself feel better, even justifying it as a blessing from God, that is in fact doing the opposite and dulling my desire for pure unadulterated intimacy with God Himself?

Win some holiday acrylic from Clear Scraps

This Clear & Chip line from Clear Scraps is one of my absolute favourites! It comes with both - acrylic & chipboard 12x12 sheets of punch out shapes to make ornaments, a mini-album, embellishments on your layout pages...whatever you want. Wanna win some?

Go here to the Clear Scraps blog to enter to win some Christmas chipboard and acrylic.

Boo: Halloween costumes 2010 - the boys

Glue Arts is going to be Boo-ing blogs this weekend (Being Boo'd is the tradition of leaving presents at someone's door and then running away and in turn that person posts a sign in their window (so it doesn't happen twice) and Boo's someone else). I'd love a prize from Glue Arts - especially after this past week of costume making.


Earlier this summer the boys went to Grandma & Grandpa's and, upon discovering the over-abundance of cardboard boxes available that come when you own a store, they proceeded to make cardboard robots, complete with cut-outs for faces, arms and sometimes even legs. When we realized that the one box that made it home with the boys had the identical proportions to a juice box, a plan was hatched to make it into exactly that as a Halloween costume this year. And so....after many coats of paint, a lot of help from my Cricut and my Xyron and my Glue Glider Max....I give you E's costume this year: Minute Maid Apple Juice. C'mon....you can't help but smile.

We even made sure it had the nutritional facts and the back side in French.

Cale, on the other hand....went completely different. He found this fantastic bird mask at the MCC this year. It's a black hood, kind of, with eyes on the top and a huge beak out the front that you look out of. Hilarious. Seriously, I laugh out loud everytime I see him in this. I made him some big old bird feet to cover his shoes and with some bright orange hockey socks, a black hoody with wings sewn on....ta-da...a crow, or raven, or something. Not sure. I'm calling him a crow.
I must note that these feet were not made from a pattern and if you paid me a million dollars I probably still couldn't replicate them - they were a labour of love and a pain in the butt. Also, if you look closely (please don't), you'll see that the finished pair of legs has one hockey sock sewn inside out. D'oh. That's what I get for pulling overnighters to do crafts at my age LOL. If you ever find a good animal/paw slipper pattern....I'd love to have it for future creatures.

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Multitude Monday - October 11 (warning: picture heavy)

In honour of Canadian Thanksgiving...and because I've skipped a couple of weeks of MM's, oh - and also because I really do have a lot to be thankful for, today's Multitude Monday is long, and picture heavy. Hope you can handle it :)

I am thankful for:
#131. Cards. If you're a friend of mine, chances are pretty good that I've forgotten your birthday at one time or another. I am in no way saying I'm good at giving cards. But I love to make them and I'm thankful for the creativity to make 'em :)

#132. A long, long weekend. 4 days, actually. How lovely.

#133. The opportunity to spend 2 of those lovely days off by myself, scrapbooking in my home. I know that Thanksgiving is a holiday to spend with family but considering that's not how mine was going to go down....this was by far, the next best thing. I had projects that had to be finished and this was a great chance for me to do that!

#134. Mandarin Oranges. Oh how I love these sweet delicious treats and Oh how I love when the "Christmas" season rolls around and they're available in the grocery stores!

#135. An assignment from a magazine. It's been awhile but Scrapbook Magazine in the UK has renewed my Design Team position with them and asked for some layouts. I'm thankful to have some work and also thankful that these 2 layouts came quite easily considering it'd been a long time since I've made layouts on a regular basis.

#136. TV online. I love watching old TV series online - seasons at a time - without the commercials and without having to wait a whole week for the next installment. Over the past few years I've watched all the seasons of Friends, Scrubs, Lost, Heroes, The Office, Grey's Anatomy, Criminal Minds, Private Practice...and more recently: Glee and Castle. Fun!

#137. Fresh buns. Better yet, fresh buns from my MIL. Thanks Mom.

#138. Fresh bread. Similar to #137...but not exactly the same. This one came from a friend of a friend who just wanted to say she cared. Thanks for caring J...and also thanks for a great breakfast the next day!

#139. My printer. I have an Epson Artisan 810 and I absolutely love it. I even got to print out some photos this weekend with it - very, very handy!

#140. This red pepper. I know it doesn't look like much but this lonely little pepper is my entire pepper crop this year. That may not seem like something to be thankful for but if you had seen my garden this year and it's horrible state, you would know just how brave and tough this one little pepper is and you would be just as proud of it, and thankful for it as I am.

#141. These crazy boys....looking a little wiped here after climbing in a straw-bail-pyramid for 2 hours at the Corn Maze south of Winnipeg. I'm thankful too for the gorgeous weather we've had this Thanksgiving weekend and the chance to enjoy some of it outside.

Here's another shot of the corn maze. The last time we went there it was earlier in the season and a better corn crop year so the corn was thick and lush and green and tall. This year it was already dry and quite a bit shorter - funny for someone like me who is 6' tall and can practically see over the corn to see my friends' heads in the corn.

#142. I'm thankful for the unexpected. Chickens nestling in a tree. What the...? I had no idea chickens could even GET up in a tree....let alone like to sit there. These 2, at the corn maze, must have been sitting here for a several hours, probably trying to avoid the grimy little toddler hands at the petting zoo.

#143. The end of football season. I love that my boys play football - it's a smart, disciplined sport and I adore watching them (even though sometimes I have to watch through splayed fingers to avoid seeing the potential injuries). BUT, as fun as it is...my boys are exhausted and it will be SO good for them to not have to be somewhere 2 nights a week. They could really use the down-time over the next few weeks/months.

#144. Fall cleaning. I've never really been one for Spring Cleaning. When the weather finally gets nice in Spring, the last thing I feel like doing is cleaning anything. On the other hand, every Fall seems like New Years' to me. It might be that I work in a school, but every September/October seems like a new chance, a new year and I love to clean stuff up to start that new chapter in my life. This Fall, in the last 2 weeks, I've done the yard, the garden, the shed (hasn't been done for a couple of years) and the garage (8-hour job but now it's done!). It feels great to be done those jobs.

#145. Buttons. I may have posted something like this in the past because I really have a thing for buttons....I'm sorry - they just make me happy :) I've got mine sorted by colour into jars on my scrapbook-room desk. Is that weird?

#146. Safety for this guy. If there was a yearbook for our family, he'd be voted "Most likely to get hurt" I think....considering the way he plays at 110%. This particular week it was a roller blade to the eye. Sheesh. How in the world does that happen, you ask? It happens when your boys and the neighbour boy are intentionally "crashing" onto the lawn and doing combat rolls with roller blades on and one of them happens to be standing too close to the other one when his feet flip up over his head. Oops.

#147. Magnetic box toys. Have you ever played with these? I had several sets when my kids were small - Firetrucks, "paper" dolls, etc...but this last set that the kids got came as a gift when they were almost too old for it so it hasn't gotten much use...until this past week when Egan & I sat down to play with it before bed one night. I think maybe we were ultra-over-tired but we howled with laughter at the funny faces and creatures we made.
These are the ones I made....they started with guitars and a harmonica but somehow they seemed funnier with an accordion and bagpipes.

And these are a joint effort. The broccoli reminds me of a Simpsons character I think but I can't put my finger on which one.

#148. Challenges. In the scrapbooking (and card-making) world online, there's no shortage of challenges out there - some are contests with prizes, some are just to get your creative juices flowing again...and there's no way in the world a person could do everything but every once and awhile a challenge piques my interest like this one did from Unity Stamps. I love their stamps. Don't own very many, but I loved putting together some little mini-cards for one of their 20+ challenges over World Card Making Day last week.

#149. A photo op. Often when I'm driving somewhere, I'll see something out the window and think, "Man..I wish I had my camera here - that's really cool" but I can't remember a time, with the exception maybe of seeing Bears driving through BC, that I actually stopped, and took a picture. This week though, I was driving back from Wpg by myself and as I drove by this field, a huge cloud of black birds flew up out of it. Almost as soon as I was past, they all settled down again in the same spot. Very cool. So, I pulled over just past the field and waited for another car to come by and scare them up :) It was very funny watching them. I wonder if they genuinely thought that they were in danger each time and by flying up they were staying safe...or if maybe this was a game they were playing too - seeing who would be the last one up every time a car drove by.

#150. These verses.
I Peter 1:6-8
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

I've been reading and re-reading the "count it all joy, my brothers..." verses from James but I've missed this verse in all my recent studies for some reason, and yet this one describes what I've been saying all along - that my goal is that someday, somehow, something in this season of my life, would bring Glory to God. I needed to be reminded that this trial is only "for a little while" and that whatever happens, my faith is growing.