Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cold. Cold. Cold.

It has been cold here in PA.  It has been so cold, that I haven’t really wanted to go anywhere.

There are days that I just want to climb under the covers and stay warm all day.

My family lives in UT.  It has been extremely cold there.  I guess I shouldn't complain about 12 degrees when they have been at zero.

While fighting off the winter blues, and trying to stay warm; I decided to scrapbook about…

Winter of course.



Scrapbooking makes me happy, it is a nice winter activity.

Maybe I would find more happiness if I scrapbooked about the Beach.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Baking Box

Thanks for stopping by JandA&Company today. 

Today I am sharing a little gift inspiration.

You can find more ideas here, here, here, and here.

I gave this as a Christmas gift, but it is something that you could give anytime of year.

I put this together for my sister’s for Christmas.

I know that we just finished all the Christmas hoop-la; but I would love to receive this gift any time during the year.

If you are looking for something fun to give someone; this just might be it.

I think it would make a wonderful Valentines gift.

I have said before and I will say it again, “I love to give gifts that are consumable or something that we use.”

I came up with this idea because I wanted to express to my sisters what a gift and a tool baking has been for me.  It has been one of the greatest methods I use to spend time with my children. 


I started by collecting some cookie cutters for them. I think I ended up with about 20 for each of them.

My box of cookie cutters is one of my most prized possessions, so I am hoping this box with be important to them as well.


There isn’t a better way to spend quality time with your kids than teaching them something.

Cooking vintage

(Stella at three years old)

Teaching them to bake is a win-win for you.

Stella cookies1

I taught Stella to bake at a really early age; and now she makes most of our family treats.  It is also a great time to talk, and when I have found my kids really open up.


(Stella at eight)

Once I found a stash of cookie cutters, I picked up some sprinkles.


Sprinkles make everything better.

I stumbled on some holiday picks and of course…


some cute cupcake liners.


I gave them quite a variety of cupcake liners.

Cupcakes are a good place to start with your kids.  A cake mix and some store-bought frosting; and they have made a treat.


From the time my little ones are very little; probably one years old, I have them put the cupcake liners in the muffin tin.  It is a great way to start them out with helping in the kitchen.  It always gives them great satisfaction.

As part of the gift, I knew I wanted to add an apron.


It was my lucky day when I found a Christmas apron.  There are adorable aprons in all styles out there right now.

The most important part of the gift was a few of my favorite baking recipes; this is the part of the gift that makes it personal. 


I also wanted them to be handwritten so they would have a little piece of me in their recipe file.

I had all four of my kids before my amazing sisters had any.  Even though, I have been a mom longer, I still learn from them all the time.

I wanted to share something I have learned about being a mother with them.

They also have small children so now is the perfect time to start the tradition of involving your kids in the kitchen.


Then I put it all together in a adorable photo box, that reminded me very much of Christmas. 

It was important for me to give it to them in something they could keep it in.


I included a note on the top about why I bake with my kids, and how it is one of our favorite traditions.

christmas cookies

When we bake in our house, not only is some really delicious goodies made; but also a lot of love.

I wanted my sisters to share in that love.


So I packaged it all up with a pretty little bow, and sent it to them to begin their own baking traditions.

I hope you can find a way to share a piece of you in your gift giving.

Valentines is right around the corner.  I think kids would even enjoy a baking kit for the big love day.  What better way to show your kids you love them, then by spending time with them in the kitchen.  Remember to think simple when teaching your kids to bake.  Maybe by a a sugar cookie mix and store bought frosting to get them started.  Then you can move on to a real recipe. 

One more thing I wanted to tell you is that my oldest son didn’t think baking was real awesome.  That is until I taught him to read the recipe, and showed him how it involves math. 

Every once in a while, I will tell him I need his math skills to help me double the recipe.  It is really teaching him about fractions.

He feels important when he feels like he is really helping me.

Friday, January 25, 2013

One word.

I mentioned earlier that I didn’t do any resolutions.  We picked a family theme for the year. 

I didn’t want to have a list of resolutions to work on this year.  I wanted to work on making myself better a day at a time.

I did however choose one word.

This word will be my mantra for the year.  I chose the word:


I picked this word because just like last year, we have many changes going on with our family. 

We will take a new job, move to a new location, find a new home, start new schools, and make new friends; among other things.

We did all of these things last year; and I have to say that I had a hard time just being content.

This year I am going to do it differently.

I found this scripture, which has brought me much comfort.

Phillipians 4:11

“For I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content.”

So my new life lesson.  Wherever we are:

living in a rental house

the discomfort of change

living out of boxes

living out of a suitcase

meeting new people

making new friends

leaving friends behind

my headshots-50 2

I will find contentment.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Family Theme.

This year, we didn’t make any big resolutions.  I am on the fence with resolutions.  I think the resolve to change is good; but I also think it really is something we should work on daily.

With the start of 2013, we decided to pick a family theme.  I had seen a quote on pinterest months back that I could not stop thinking about.  I knew that had to be our theme.  I ran it by the handsome doctor, and he agreed.

This is what I originally saw on pinterest:



This is my own simple version that sits in a frame in our den.  I hope to make something as amazing as the above.  It will just take me some time.

be the good copy

I have personally struggled with all the awful things that I see going on around me.  Often times, I have become so consumed with it that I wonder how I could possibly raise righteous kids in this wicked world.

This quote was the answer for me.  I have to teach my children to believe there is good in the world; by being the good in the world.

We talked about how we can be the good:


dream girls room


Cousin Pictures (66 of 74)


First days at home 017


Bro and Siste


jex's tenth birthday party-0387


Kindergarten 2


March & April 06 019







I also shared these few scripture verses as a reminder of who we are to be.

Matthew 5: 14-16

14 Ye are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

16 Light your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

I then lit a candle of my own on a candlestick.  We talked about the light that each of us have inside.  We talked about how important it is to be the light for good.  Then….

I covered the candle with a box.  The kids were surprised when the light went out. 

It was a reminder to them that we can’t hide our light. 

Even when this world seems scary.

Even when we wonder what is happening, and watching the wickedness unfold before our eyes.

This is not the time to hide.

This is the time to share the light.

This is the time to be the good.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Why and How I Scrapbook.

I started paper scrapbooking when I was in middle school.

My favorite store to go to was a small store in a town just over from where I grew up.  They had a good selection of colored cardstock and oodles of stickers.

This is how I started; colored paper and stickers.  Then the scrapbooking world evolved and I evolved with it.

I spent hours scrapbooking with friends in college and when I was first married.

I even worked for a scrapbook store and taught classes.

I went on weekend retreats and pulled late-nighters with friends to make sure my memories where recorded.

Then as the scrapbook world evolved; so did my family.

By the third child I realized I would NEVER be able to scrapbook again.

If you feel this way; I am hoping that my solution might help you.

Every time I pulled out my stash of paper I was so overwhelmed because my kids wanted to go through it. 

I would begin with the intentions of creating something for one of their baby books, and finish with my kids creating some art project with my stash. 

During this time, we lived in small spaces so the ability to leave my mess out was not an option.

Right after I had Isaac, a friend suggested digital scrapbooking.  A way to scrapbook with out the mess.  All I had to do was click Save, and my mess was cleaned up.

I have to admit that the thought of not holding something tangible in my hands was frightening; not to mention the learning curve of learning Photoshop.  It all frightened me.

I decided it was worth a try.

I spent the $80 on Photoshop Elements and an afternoon learning the basics.

I will always be thankful for those two friends who sat down and got me started.

It was so addicting, and I never turned back.

as a note: I normally use photobucket as a host for my pictures.  I did not upload these scrapbook pages to photobucket for the simple purpose that I want you to be able to click on them and make them bigger to read and see.  With that in mind please know that the pages would be more crisp had I used a host.

South Padre copy

Digital scrapbooking opened up a whole new world for me. 

Not only did it teach me the digital side of scrapbooking, but it also sparked

my interest in editing photos.

 Announcing 2 copy

Which then led to blogging and photography.

It also allowed me to scrapbook again.

Stella bike 1 copy

I am so thankful that I didn’t give up on scrapbooking.

I will admit that I am further behind than I ever was when I had more time and just one child.  I don’t do it as often as I would like; but I still love it.

I scrapbook because I love pictures.   My scrapbooks are full of pictures of my favorite people.

Travelers game 2 copy 

I scrapbook to record memories.  I love remembering how blessed I am.

First day of Preschool Isaac copy

I scrapbook because it makes me happy.

I thought it would be nice to share how and what I scrapbook.

What tools I use?

Up until 2007 everything in my life is on scrapbook paper, in sheet protectors and put in an album.  I have scrapbooked everything up until that point on paper.  I have at least 20 binders full of scrapbook pages.  We have moved and moved and moved these around.  I am thankful for them, but now I wish they were all digital, and not so bulky.

I like and for printing digital books.

I print my albums now in hard bound books that are similar to story book size.  I prefer the size 12x12.

Since 2007, I have digital scrapbooked.  Here is my very first spread:

2007-July 4th 1 copy2007-July 4th 2 copy

I think you will see that my digital abilities have gotten better with practice.

I used Photoshop Elements 6 over 5 years ago to create this page with the help of two wonderful friends. 

Elements is a much easier and cheaper version than the real Photoshop.  Believe me; I have both.  I have Photoshop CS5 which I use to edit my photography.  I still go back to Elements to scrapbook because I think it is just easier.

Since that first page I have turned to to learn more about digital scrapbooking.

I also subscribed to scrapbooking magazines that have helped me along the way as well.  Most can be found on

I have learned from doing and practicing.  The more you practice the faster you get.

Last year; I tried my memories suite for scrapbooking.  This is a great program, and very user friendly.  This is a great route for those of you who don’t want to learn Photoshop.

Both of these sites have digital paper that you can buy.

I use picasa from google to organize my photos and paper.  I have to say that this is by far my greatest scrapbooking secret.  It is FREE.

Ok.  So what do I scrapbook?

I scrapbook family albums by year.

So.. here is a sample of 2007; my first digital scrapbook.

Sabbath Day 1 copySabbath Day 2 copy

Then beginning in 2008; I started my blog.  I contemplated what to do about this.  If I printed a blog book, it would include many of the pictures and journaling that I would use in my 2008 scrapbook.  I blogged about some of those events.  However; I didn’t blog about everything.  It didn’t make sense to have two books that may have duplicate pictures and info.

After several trial runs; I finally decided to put them both together.  Now when I scrapbook, I include the journaling from my blog. Here is a few examples:

Hammerheads and Kindred Spirits 2 copy

Hammerheads and Kindred Spirits copy

If it came from my blog, I always include: Blogged on: and then the date.

This is an example of a spread that has random pictures and lots of journaling.  It is just some random thoughts I had put on my blog.  I still think it is important to include this in my history because it is who I am, and what we were doing in that moment.

Random post copy

random post 2 copy

However; there will also be pages that don’t have my blog thoughts on them. These are pages of just important events or family time that didn’t get mentioned out in the blogosphere.  I didn’t blog about everything.  Here is a sample of that:

Teach me to walk

Teach me to walk 2 copy

My digital scrapbooks for my family are a combination of both our memories and my thoughts. (it just so happens that I can more easily remember those thoughts because I have blogged) 

This has been the perfect solution for me because my blog is a history.  Now all our memories are in one place.

Along with family books, each child has a baby book.  This is a book all about them their first year:

Tessa 3 months copy

Tessa 3 months 2 copy

Tessa and Isaac are the only ones who have digital books.

one month 1 copy

one month 2 copy

Jex and Stella have paper scrapbooks for their baby books.

I want to pull them out and share a few pages from them, but I never unpacked our scrapbooks.  It just seemed like one more thing to unpack and pack.  It was something we could live without for one year.  It makes me so sad that our memories are in boxes in my attic; but it will be the first thing I unpack when we become more permanent somewhere.

So I hope this makes sense; each child has their own baby book.  This is their book to keep.  I have their baby pages in my family book that I keep for myself for the year.

I still wanted my kids to have a book of memories beyond the first year of their life.

It did seem odd to hand them 18 books when they left the house.  It also seemed like a daunting task for me to create a book for each child, each year.

So I decided I would make them five spreads (spread being 2 pages next to each other) for each year.  I make:

a winter spread (a collection of pictures from Dec-Feb. of that year):

winter 2009-2010 1 copyWinter 2009-2010 2 copy

a spring spread (pictures from Mar.-May):

Spring 2009 copyjex spring 2009 2 copy

a summer spread(pictures from June-Aug.):

Isaac summer 2009 2 copyIsaac Summer 2009 copy

a fall spread(pictures from Sept.-Nov.):

Tess fall 2010 copyTess Fall 2010 2 copy

and a birthday spread:

Jex's ninth birthday copyJex's ninth birthday 2 copy

So in simple terms, each child will have 2 books; a baby book, and book with a collection of memories.

The collection book has five spreads from each year that highlight the big memories from each season.

Jex and Stella started with paper pages, and now they have some digital pages incorporated in their book.  For this reason I have kept their pages in a binder and sheet protectors. I print these pages individually. 

You can find many sites that print 12x12.  I print these from Jessica Sprague.  I usually print them when they are on sale and can usually print them for around $1.50 a page. (which is cheaper then buying paper and printing pictures)

I do the same for Isaac and Tessa.  I was worried about storing all those pages on my hard drive for 18 years and then printing them in to a bound book.  You never know what might change or what you might loose from now to then.

Digital scrapbooking can also be a cheap hobby.  You can get lots of FREE digital papers.  Your software is your only fee.  You can print pages or books when you have the money.  Unlike, paper that you have to own before you paper scrapbook.

I love knowing that when I want to create something, all I have to do is get on my computer.  I don’t have to go out and buy supplies because I already have them.

The books are not cheap to print, but keep in mind that you are no longer buying paper, sheet protectors, albums, or paying to print your pictures.  I think it is actually cheaper then printing all your pictures.

I have spent anywhere from $20 to $170 on the printing of a bound book.  It all depends on the size and how many pages.

Remember I print my family albums in bound books from sites like or

I print individual 12x12 pages for my children’s collection books from this site.

For those of you who are intimidated by designing a scrapbook page; did you know there are pages that are already designed for you?

These pages are called quick pages.  These are made for Photoshop programs and allow you to just drop your pictures right in, and call it good.   My memories suite may also have some of these. Here is an example of what a quick page looks like:


Here it is with my pictures in it:

Halloween 1 copy

There are also pages for Photoshop called templates.  These are pages that have the layout made and all you have to do is pick your paper and add your pictures.

Here is what a template looks like:


Here is what it looks like when I added my pictures and paper:

Tessa 5 months snapshots copy

Templates can only be used in Photoshop elements or the big Photoshop.

…and if you really want to keep it simple, many sites have books already made and all you have to do is add your pictures.

Whatever you decide to do; I hope this sparks your interest or answers some of the questions you may have about digital scrapbooking.

Final Page copy

Visit here to read more about how I scrapbook.


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