Friday, November 30, 2007

Check out this freak show...

weird clay art by my lovely daughter Rachel.
First she came prancing in the kitchen like this...

Then she looked at me & said with a little sparkle in her eyes, "quick mama...grab your camera...I have an idea!!!"

Here is what followed...

She was entertained for the whole evening & so was I.
We were laughing, actually... it was more like hysterical giggling, all night.

Then she made this final creation...

(check out the little eyelashes...crazy huh?)

I love that something as ordinary as dollar store clay can be such an extraordinary & creative toy.
This was a great reminder for me as I head into the crazy shopping frenzy for Christmas. Sometimes even the simplest of things can bring us so much pleasure.
I love you Rachel!! You are a shining light in my life.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Smile for the Camera...

Yesterday I finally had a sunny enough day & enough time to bring the kids over to the local park & take some photos. I was hoping to get one shot good enough for our annual Christmas card photo. This is always a bit of a challenge to get a shot where all four of the kids look pretty good. I'm of the theory take at least a hundred pictures & maybe one will be acceptable. So here are some of yesterday's shots.
This tree is where the adventure got started. I had this image in my head of all four of the kids up in a tree, but there really wasn't one that worked right for that. Plus after Rachel got her foot stuck in this one & was covered with bark I thought maybe I should scrap the tree idea.

This fence shot is actually the one I will be using for the cards. I think everyone has the most natural look in it.
This one of them laying down up the hill from me I just love. Too bad Kailey was squinting. I think Connor looks so cool in this one.
I took a few shots in this gazebo right before we left. The kids had fun goofing off after Mama was so cranky trying to get good shots of them. It was good taking pictures & not being so picky about where everyone was standing & which way they were looking.

This hill just begged to have kids rolling down it. Caleb was the first to give in to the temptation.

They rolled down the hill a number of times. Everyone was laughing & muddy.
Connor would roll down in an angle bumping all the others on the way down. It was too funny that he couldn't stay in a straight roll.

I think we need to go back next week before it gets too cold. I plan to let them dress in their junky play clothes & just have a blast. They won't be young enough to be this silly for long. I was glad they had some fun even if I was so serious about the pictures in the beginning.

I love that they remind me that life is too short to take things so seriously. I mean really who cares if we have a perfect Christmas card picture?? Maybe it is really more perfect that we are having too much fun to have a perfect picture.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Looking For Some Mojo??

Well then boy do I have something for you. Check out the current challenge at Scrapdragons!

You will be sure to get some ideas over there & if you put a link to your creation in the comments you can have a shot at a fun scrappy prize.

So go ahead pop on over & check it out!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

So much to share...

& so much to be thankful for!!

I can't believe it has been so long since I posted. It has been a whirlwind of activity here since last week. Today I finally have a minute for myself & I am going to take some time out to go over all that has gone on & really savor the good stuff & celebrate.

So be warned this may be a lengthy post, but it is filled with really sweet juicy moments for me so I hope you take the time to read through to the end.

So first as some of you may already know I had thrown my hat in the ring over at Crop Addict & tried out for a spot on their amazing Design Team.

Well, It's official... the announcement has been made and I can now shout it from the roof tops...


I feel so honored to be a part of the team & I can't wait to get started. So stay tuned to see all the cool stuff I will get to create for them. They are a fabulous scrapbook store & kit club, with an amazing gallery & great message board. If you are a paper crafter make sure you go check them out. It is the kind of site where you will feel welcome right away & will be totally inspired.

I still can't believe I made it!!

Caleb & Rachel were off from school all this past week. They were so excited to help prepare for Thanksgiving & they were fabulous help to me as I got everything ready for our guests.

Wednesday family started arriving. In the morning my father & step-mother came by for a visit. They spent time with me & the kids & then brought us out for a nice lunch. They had t head back to Cape May so around 2PM they headed back to south Jersey.

Then around 3PM my Aunt Tiz & Uncle Nick arrived. I couldn't believe how wonderful Uncle Nick looked. Just last year at Christmas time he had a near fatal car crash & was in a coma. In the past year since the accident he has had to learn to walk again, among other things. This Thanksgiving he walked into our house with just a cane... God is good.

Then later that evening my mom & step dad arrived. I always enjoy visits with my mom. She lives in Maryland & I wish we could see her more.

I have to say I was so busy hanging with my family that I hardly ever took out my camera. {GASP}... Can you believe it?!?! I am sad I have almost no pictures, but I am glad I just took the time to enjoy my family.

Thursday was Thanksgiving and my mother-in-law & sister-in-law arrived. So with a full house we all hung out & ate all kinds of yummy goodness. It is always nice to have family around. David's grandmother, Muriel, had just gotten out of the hospital & was unable to join us this year. I was sad about that, but grateful that she was home & not in the hospital. My sweet dear husband gave my mother-in-law a ride back to Muriel's & brought "goodie bags" of Thanksgiving treats for her & her friend Wally.

Friday my Uncle Larry, Aunt Denise, Cousins Louie & Marc, & Louie's girlfriend Natasha came by. Again all the food came out & we had a chance to laugh & visit. My Aunt Tiz who thinks silly string is the best fun ever gave us all our own can & a huge silly string fight started in the back yard. It was just too fun. Now my back yard & porch are littered with strands of the silly stuff. I just love that Tiz & my family are still so fun.

Connor & Kailey left for the weekend to be with their mom at their Aunt Laura's house. Later in the day Larry picked up Caleb & Rachel for the weekend. It is always a bit sad to see them all go, but I am grateful they have a good relationship with their other parents.

Saturday morning all the house guests started back on their way home. David & I were left alone for the first time in days. So we headed out to the golf course & played a round of golf. It was cold, I played poorly, & I had a fabulous time! It was great to have some quiet time with my honey.

That afternoon are dear friends Chris & Lori came over for a quiet dinner & some wine. Again it was nice to enjoy some quiet times with friends.

So now here I am finally caught up to today. I am doing laundry, catching up on email, updating my blog, & I plan to get some scrap time this afternoon as well.

If you made it this far...thanks!! Hope you had a fabulous & blessed week as well!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I've Been Tagged!!

by Nancyroo!! If you have time go check out her blog!

I GOT please copy and paste and write your answers in my comments if you want to play along... I always love to learn a little more about my blogging friends so I hope you will take a minute.

Yourself: Creative & Funny
Your partner: Smart & Supportive
Your hair: In desperate need of a haircut (I have an appointment next week...yippee!)
Your mother: Smart & Fun loving
Your father: Brilliant & Steady
Your favorite item: My Ipod
Your dream last night: I don't remember
Your favorite drink: Dirty Martinis
Your dream car: I would love a hybrid car big enough for my family.
Your Dream home: A five bedroom my kids could have their own space.
The room you are in: Living Room
Your fear: Something happening to my kids.
Where you want to be in 10 years: Still madly in love with my husband.
Who you hung out with last night: My husband & kids
You’re not: Dishonest
One of your wish list items: A new set of golf clubs.
The last thing you did: Tucked my kids into bed.
You are wearing: A tan sweater, jeans, & red shoes.
Your favorite weather: Autumn & Spring
Your favorite book: The Velveteen Rabbit
Last thing you ate: A Pear
Your life: Blessed
Your mood: A bit wound up.
Your best friend: Other than my husband...Gabi
What are you thinking about right now: What I need to do tomorrow.
Your car: A hybrid Toyota Prius
What are you doing at the moment: Typing this blog post, duh!
Relationship status: Married with 4 kids.
What is on your t.v.: My hubby is watching C.S.I
When is the last time you laughed: Tonight telling my husband what went on at my meeting tonight.

I tag....Gabi and Cheryl. I would tag a few more, but I am too tired & need to get to bed.

My Baby is Ten Years Old!!

Well, I can hardly believe it but my baby Kailey just celebrated her ten year birthday today. That can't be right can it?

We have been celebrating all weekend. Somehow her birthday seemed like a huge milestone for me. All four of my kids are now in double digits. Why this is significant to me, I am not sure, but I do remember making a big deal out of my own tenth birthday so maybe that has something to do with it.

Last night we made shabu shabu for dinner & the kids just had so much fun. We were laughing all night. Then we lit a fire in the fire pit out back & made s'mores.

I also made these special cupcakes for the party today. Kailey loved them.

I wanted them to be funky cool for my little Kailey. She definitely has her own style & likes things bright, bold, & colorful. Rachel helped me frost them, it was her idea to put the red in the middle. I think they look pretty cool.

We had Kailey's party at the local ice rink, Bridgewater Sports Arena. We got there around 11:30 am & waited for her 7 friends to arrive. So plus our four we had a nice crowd of kids. It was really funny to watch them all shuffle around the ice until they got confident. We took a break half way & got all the kids pizza & drinks & then a number of them went back out on the ice. We were there until about 3 pm. Aside from some bumps from falls on the ice, one bloody nose, & some chilly kids, everyone seemed to have a super fun time.

Kailey enjoying some pizza

I wish I could be at home for the rest of the evening, but I have to run out for a board meeting for our swim club.

It has been a long day! Hope everyone had a great weekend.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Less Than a Week & it is Turkey Time!!

I just love Thanksgiving! I love all the cooking, the crisp fall weather, & the time with family. For the last 5 years or so we have been hosting the big family Thanksgiving here at our home. I love it! This house just calls to be filled with people celebrating.

As much as I love it, I notice that I get into this crazy perfectionist mode. I want the house to be spotless, everything organized & perfect, & a Martha Stewart style fall feel to the entire house. I just get completely insane. I do love the results though. Things I normally put off or neglect cleaning get cleaned, treasures are discovered as I clean out old junk drawers, & generally I feel more peaceful as a result.

So this year I am trying to enjoy the crazy prep process. Not take it so seriously like it has to be perfect, but realize that I really enjoy the end result. So believe it or not I am having fun with the super freak cleaning I am doing. I am just loving the process as well as the result.

Plus think of all the guilt free time I can take for myself when it is all done!!

Friday, November 09, 2007

A Day at the Farm...Among Other Things

Yesterday I chaperoned the Lewis School field trip to the Howell Living History Farm. This was really a cool trip. It was a perfect brisk fall day & the sun was shining. It was great being outside with the kids all day. Although it was a bit cold & I was pretty wiped out by the time we got home.

They learned about corn harvesting & had some hands on experience. This farm does everything the way it was done back in the 1800's. It was really neat for the kids to be able to see this and experience it first hand. The whole thing was so well done & very informative.

Rachel took this picture of the horses on the wagon.

Rachel took this picture of one of the pigs.

Rachel & Kendall feeding the chickens

Rachel with her piece of corn that she was off to shell.

If you live in the area this is a place I would definitely recommend. The kids all had a great time. I think when the kids get a hands on opportunity like this to experience history they retain so much more of what they learn.

They had one whole segment on the cooking from that time. The woman made popcorn & corn bread. Everyone got to taste it & they gave us the recipe. The melted butter on top of the corn bread & then drizzled it with honey. It was still warm form being baked in the wood burning stove. The kids participated by helping to churn the butter. It was really cool to see how it was all done & the snacks were quite tasty.

I have to add on this little bit about Caleb. Last week he got this foam eyeball from school for Halloween. Immediately he had an idea for creating a creature out of it. So he asked me for some red pipe cleaners & some googly eyeballs. It always makes me smile when the kids want to create something. Here is his finished creation...

I think it is pretty creepy cool if you ask me. The funniest thing was that when he was done he came over to me to show me & said, "Hey mama, I think you should take some pictures & scrapbook this." So could I resist.

And just one more thing...

Here is a layout I did of our trip to Norz-Hill Farm to get pumpkins. I just love how it came out. I used a LO I saw on the multi-photo layout blog as my inspiration. I don't do too many two pagers these days & that site always gives me tons of great ideas. There are some really talented people over there. Be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

And that's the way they became the Blakeley Bunch...

Connor has a project due about his family & culture for school. He needs to make a poster showing various aspects of his life. One of the things he is supposed to depict is one thing about his family that makes it unique. He decided to highlight the fact that we are a blended family.

So we decided to make a picture of our family for his poster that is a play on the opening credits for The Brady Bunch. We often joke about our modern day Brady Bunch life. All the things that happen here in this household we could have our own sitcom. Although I think it would have to be rated PG-13. Blending two families certainly presents its set of challenges!

This is what we came up with...

Since there are only six of us we added in Ginger & Shasta to round out our bunch.

I also need to add that the photo of my darling husband David he hates. I must admit it isn't the best photo of him, but he was looking in the right direction & hey I had to make this in like 15 minutes.

We had a lot of fun with this!!

Monday, November 05, 2007

I am playing Texas Hold 'Em This Week

On Sisterhood of Scrap they are playing a version of Texas Hold 'Em & I decided to join the fun.

So I took a break from all the Ebay Craziness (see my post from earlier today if you want to see what that is all about) & I scrapped a bit. Here is my layout for Challenge #1.

This is one of those layouts that I had big ideas for & it just didn't turn out how I had hoped. I am trying to turn over a new leaf though & not rip it apart & start over. I am going to put it in a page protector & move on. At least that is what I am saying right now.

Ebay Craziness!!

I have been an Ebay maniac this weekend. I have posted over 20 listings with over 100 items of the kids old outgrown clothes. The scary part is I still have a ton more to list.

I had no idea how much I had collected this time. As the kids outgrow clothes I put them in bins & then every so often I take them out wash them, photograph them, & list them on Ebay. It has actually been a pretty sweet deal. I make a little extra cash & the clothes get sent to a new home to be enjoyed. I love the idea of them moving out of my house & geting reused. This time though I let it go a bit too long & the task has been overwhelming.

This time Rachel has been helping. She has been my organizer & photographer. It has been fun to have an Ebay buddy. In exchange for her services she is making 20% of all the profits.

She took this photo of the great room as the staging area for the Ebay sales...scary huh?!?!

If you need any clothes for your kids...check out our listings...& check back all this week as I am sure we will be listing more.

Our Ebay Listings

Well back to sorting through clothes!!