Thursday is quickly becoming my favorite day of the week. And not because it’s payday either.  Thursday is Book Chat day.  This week Book Chat is all about your favorite self-help and inspirational books.  To be honest, I don’t really read a lot of these kind of books.  I mean, I’ve read a few.

When I think of self-help and inspirational I think of Dr. Phil.  I have no idea why because I don’t really like him (Sorry Dr. Phil fans!) and I’ve never even seen his show.  But anyway my first book thought is “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss.  One of my favorite teachers gave it to me at my high school graduation and I still have it today.

Have you ever read it?  I didn’t pay much attention to it at the time and put it on a bookshelf to look pretty.  It wasn’t until a few years later that I could understand it better and why she gave it to me.  Dr. Seuss isn’t really “self-help” but he sure is inspirational.

Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, for a mind maker-upper to make up his mind 

So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains. 

Self-help and inspirational books are aplenty and I don have some grownup favorites as well.  


I really like Jillian Michaels.  I’m really glad to see her back on The Biggest Loser this year.  I’ve heard good things about the middle three books.  They are on my library request list.  I may read them, I may not.  It took me a long time to read Jillian Michaels’ book just because I feel like I have to be in a certain mood to read this genre of books.  Does that make me weird?  And Wreck This Journal is just that.  The author encourages you to throw the book. scribble in it and even poke holes though it!  I was horrified at first but it’s oddly therapeutic.  But just the one time.



I am excited to share with you my favorite children’s books for Valentine’s Day.  I love reading holiday themed books with the munchkins.  My Big Man decided that Valentine’s were “yucky” and was appalled that he had to give Valentine’s to the girls in his class this year.  Meanwhile my Big Girl is picking out the “right” card for each of her classmates.  It’s an extremely important task according to her.  I really don’t miss those days.  And the Little Man has learned what a heart is and loves to point them out when he sees them.  Which is everywhere right now.

 Snowy Valentine The Biggest Kiss  Lilly’s Chocolate Heart  I Love You Stinky Face  The Biggest Valentine Ever  Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse! The Valentine Bears  Ruby Valentine Saves the Day  The Perfect Hug Hug Time The Ballad of Valentine All Kinds Of Kisses How Do You Hug a Porcupine?  Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentime 

My personal favorites are Hug Time and The Biggest Valentine Ever. They are apart of our personal library and I wish I remembered what I ordered from the class book orders this month but I know they were cute.
What are your favorite Valentine’s books?



My heart hurts so bad when I think for the horrific events of last Friday.  My munchkins are all in elementary school.  I cannot fathom what their parents are going through.  I cannot comprehend what would cause a person to do this.  I don’t know if the “why’s” can ever be answered.  That being said I am too participating in Tuesday’s silence and show of support for Sandy Hook Elementary and all the families who lost a loved one on that day.

To the Blog World and Anyone Else who Wants to Help,

Yesterday, tragedy struck so many of us in ways we did not foresee. An elementary school and small town in Connecticut was shattered by a mass shooting. We knew we wanted to help and we came up with this:

On Tuesday, December 18th, there will be a blogger day of silence.
We will post the button and that’s it. Please try to not post anything else that day if possible.

We are also raising money that will go to an organization in the memory of this tragedy. The organization is called The Newtown Family Youth and Family Services. Here is the official description of the support service we are donating to:

“Newtown Youth and Family Services, Inc. is a licensed, non-profit, mental health clinic and youth services bureau dedicated to helping children and families achieve their highest potential. NYFS provides programs, services, activities, counseling, support groups and education throughout the Greater Newtown area.


Please visit THIS PAGE to make your donation.

We can’t imagine how they must be feeling, especially this close to the holidays. We would love for you to spread the word on your own blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Let’s make a difference and use blogging in a positive way. Thank you in advance for participating.

The Blog World


I’ve read a lot of books this year.  Some were short stories and some took me several days to finish.  Some were good and some I couldn’t put down.  And some I couldn’t believe that I was still reading that.  Thankfully those last ones were few and far in between.  I didn’t have a goal of how many books to read this year but I’m thinking of making a few goals in the next year to read books that are not outside of what I typically read because when I did step out of my comfort zone this year I was amazed.
My favorites of 2012…
Celebrity In Death – there’s no way a Nora Roberts book isn’t making my end of the year list.  Anything Eve and Roarke do is my favorite though.
Fifty Shades of Grey – love it or hate it this book had a lot of people talking this year.  I’ve mentioned before that I’d read this book when it was still fanfiction and seeing it out in print was like knowing something was cool before everyone else did.
Lover Reborn – I wish there was more than one BBD book a year but each one is fantastic.  There was a lot more than just the “love” story going on in this one and sometimes I love the secondary story better.  But I need more Zsadist!
About That Night – sometimes I think that Julie James gets a little overlooked in the romance category but her books are wonderful. The hero in About That Night is the minted “Twitter Terrorist” who shut down Twitter for a few days after his model girlfriend broke up with him via tweet.  The story of him reconnecting with a woman he met just one time  and rebuilding his career is one of my top three of the year.
Wallbanger – I can’t stop laughing when I read this book.  It reminds me of when I was younger and wanted to talk like the kids on Dawson’s Creek. I want to have conversations like the characters in this book do.
The Night Circus – I would have most likely have never read this book if it wasn’t for Literary Junkies making it the first book that we read and I would have missed out on a extraordinary story.  I’ve never read such a wonderfully woven tale and the words made you feel like you were right in the middle of things.  I stayed up a few late nights to finish this.
Gabriel’s Rapture – it’s a “sequel” to Gabriel’s Inferno and I loved all the twists and turns in the plot.  And I just love when the mean girls and guys get what’s coming to them.
A Political Affair – I’m usually big on political books because I don’t really understand the language politics.  At all.  Political Sciences were not my strong point in school but that doesn’t matter because while the story is set in the political world it doesn’t overshadow it.
Well, that’s my list for 2012. Are any of my picks on yours?  What else did you like?


Once upon a time almost six years ago I took my oldest trick or treating for the very first time.  We were both pretty excited and had “everything” I thought.  Costumes, lighted necklaces and candy bag.  All went well until the candy bag ripped getting out of the car and trying to tape the whole shut did not impress my little Care Bear.
The second year I came across the idea of decorated paint buckets.  A scrapbooker will decorate anything I tell you and I thought “trick or treat bucket”.  And so our paint bucket trick or treat buckets were born.  It’s not my original idea but I’d like to show you how to do it though.

Step One: Gather your supplies.  There are tons of Halloween goodies in all kinds of stores including Taget and Walgreens.  I buy our paint buckets at our local hardware store which is also a slash/ scrapbook store.  We don’t have a lot of stores around here so they tend to double up.  It’s really handy.

Step Two: Glue your paper to the bucket.  I usually measure freehand first.  I used a combination of adhesive and Modge Podge to make it stick.  Don’t use too much MP or it will “wet” the paper.  You’ll need two of most scrapbook papers to make it all the way around.
Step Three: I add ribbon around the top to cover up any blemishes from trimming the paper.  And it looks cute.


Step Four: Start adding any and all embellishments you want.  We use stickers, buttons, alphabets, sequins and more ribbon.
The more embellishments the better in my opinion because some will fall off over the course of the night.

Step Five: We finish it off by wrapping the handle in ribbons.  It just gives it that finished look to me.

And that’s our Halloween Trick or Treat buckets.  The kids like decorating them each year as their tastes and styles change.  I think they look cute carrying them around.  Look-everyone’s happy!


I searched high and low this year for a Halloween-themed wreath this year.  I found lots of fall and plastic wreaths but not a simple, classic Halloween one.  So I made my own.

I started with these materials…
-circle styrofoam wreath     -4 different kinds of halloween fabric
-lots of straight pins            -3 yards of ribbon

Step One: Wrap wreath with ribbon.  My ribbon was trimmed with wire so it was easier to mold into position.  Secured it as needed with the straight pins.  I love straight pins.

Step Two: Cut my fabric into strips about an inch wide and 3 inches long.  Go ahead and sit down, it takes awhile.

Step Three: Twist and pin your pieces sporadically on the wreath.

I twisted in the middle and stuck the pin right through the middle.  Some pieces I had to use more than one pin or used a lid to push it through a thick piece.

After an hour of twisting and pinning it began to look like this.  I didn’t follow any pattern.  If it looked like I needed more orange in spot or more white, I added it.

Make sure your go at least halfway around on either side of the wreath so you can see fabric from any angle.  I personally like the filled in look better.

And ta-da!  You have a lovely fabric wreath for your front door.  Or back door.  Whatever door you want.



My Merry Messy Life: A Crafter's Dream Giveaway #ACraftersDream

I’m so excited to bring you A Crafter’s Dream Christmas Giveaway! This giveaway is hosted by My Merry Messy Life, Earning-My-Cape and Tutus & Tea Parties and has a Christmas, crafting, and supporting small business theme! Each blogger is offering her/his own giveaway worth $25 or more going on now through Sunday, November 4, 2012.

Christmas is just around the corner, and the time to start crafting our gifts for friends and family is now! Some of the blogs in the giveaway group will be giving away some awesome crafting supplies!


This time around I am again giving away a $25 gift certificate to Big Picture Classes!  In addition to all their workshops they also many specialty self-paced classes geared towards this time of year.  Some of my favorite holiday themed classes are Picture Winter, Creating Christmas and Holiday Recipes for Scrapbooking.
Sometimes we want to give a handmade gift, but just don’t have the time or know-how to make them ourselves. This is a great opportunity to support small businesses and shops who offer handmade items! Some of the blogs in our giveaway group will be highlighting such small businesses and offering giveaway items for them, as well. Even if you don’t win the giveaway, we hope that you will keep these small businesses in mind when shopping for that perfect gift for your special someone.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now you can hop from blog to blog entering as many giveaways as you want!

Now you can hop from blog to blog entering as many giveaways as your heart desires!

1. My Merry Messy Life (HOST) 27. Susie QT pies Scraps of Life
2. Earning My Cape (HOST) 28. Juggling Act Mama
3. Tutus and Tea Parties (HOST) 29. Pressing On
4. Growing Up Gabel 30. Lauren @ The Well Crafted Home
5. Seven Alive all Livin’ in a Double Wide 31. Sweeping Mama
6. Life With Lovebugs 32. Feeding Big
7. Pams Party & Practical Tips 33. Bowdabra Blog
8. Dear Brighton 34. Trinity @ ramsaygrace
9. Sewing Miles of Smiles 35. Anissa @ Chasing Hailey
10. Spunky Real Deals 36. LeroyLime
11. The Thriftiness Miss 37. Coffee, Caramel & Cream
12. Chicken Scratch NY 38. Mom Does Reviews
13. Yeung Mother Hubbard 39. The “not so” Simple Life in NoVa
14. Megan @ Just a Small Town Girl 40. Deal Sharing Aunt
15. Busy Vegetarian Mom 41. 3 partners in shopping
16. Wonky Wonderful 42. Emily @ Scrappy Sweet Creations
17. Natural Living Mamma 43. Amber @ Crazy Little Projects
18. Harvest Moon by Hand 44. Danielle @ Secrets of a Sweet Southern Girl
19. Puddin N Pie 45. Shannon @ Sassy Lemonade
20. GrowingSlower 46. Colorful Z_orca
21. Happy Green Mama 47. Love and Laundry
22. Robyn’s View 48. Ashley Brooke
23. Satisfaction Through Christ 49. Unique and Chic Creations
24. My Devotional Thoughts 50. Diary of a Debutante
25. Adventures of Brad & Kenra 51. Broken Treasures
26. A Night Owl




Halloween is one week from today and like most of you a lot of our preperations have already begun.

Costmues? Check.
Treat buckets? Check.
Classroom treats?  Check.
Mom’s sanity…. let me get back to you on that.

Here are a few tips to help you document your Halloween but hopefully not lose that sanity thing.

1. Have your child get in character
Don’t just take the traditional “cheese” shot; have your child get in character.  If they are a cat, ask then what a cat says and snap that moment when they meow or show their “claws”.  If they are a ballerina, ask them to do a twirl.  My favorite- ask little cops to “arrest” daddy.  They think it’s hilarious.

2. Document the details
outdoors – nature is changing everyday this time of year and there are so many different things to capture.  Snap shots of pumpkins, changing leafs and the autumn sunsets.
treats – Halloween is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) candy holiday of the year.  Between trick or treating and yummy desserts, the sky is the limit.  Snap shots of classroom treats, trick or treating haul and  pumpkins treats.
activities – parties, parties and more parties.  Fall is full of Halloween parties, pumpkin hunting and playing outdoors.  Snap shots of trick or treating, time at the pumpkin patch and making fall crafts.

3. Don’t wait for Halloween
The actual day of Halloween is always hectic for us.  Between school parties and the evening activities it can get pretty crazy and stressful you and the little ones.  I started a few years ago having them dress up in their costumes a few days before Halloween to get the more traditional shots.  I don’t feel like I missed anything before we left and the kids don’t feel cranky at having to stop the fun to “cheese”.

4. Think outside the box
Halloween is full of opportunities for unique shots.  Take shots of costume details to remember how little they are.  Also remember to switch up your angles; shoot kids from behind, upclose and from below for those special shots.

5. Go with the flow
It’s probably the most important tip.  Meltdowns will happen, costumes can get stepped on and candy can be mixed up.  Don’t be afraid to shoot those images too.  They will help tell your story and could give you several laughs in the years to come.


It’s almost the end of July.  How can it seem that summer is dragging yet almost over at the same time?  Our local schools do not begin until after Labor Day but I know many start very soon.  We’ve just started getting our Back to School lists together and scoping out clothing sales.
I’ve been working on my July Project Life and I’m looking forward to fall when I’ll go back to weekly layouts.  But in the meantime I have more downloadable files for you!
First up is Days of the Week Tags.  The file contains individual PNG files and a printable sheet with all seven tags.

And Second is a set of Vintage Postcard Tags.  Same as above, each file contains a individual file and printable sheet with all six tags.

Is there any special printable you’d like to see?  I love taking requests!


Can you stand one more complaint about the heat?  It was so hot and humid this week that I didn’t take the kids to the local fair this year.  The day all the kids activities were scheduled is was 102′ and I just couldn’t imagine being out the blazing sun and humidity diving in sawdust for pennies.  We have some very clever games I tell ya.
So we spent a lot of the week inside.  In front of the air conditioner.  I’ve spent so much time with the AC this summer I could call it my best friend.  Heaven help me if it broke because all the local stores are sold out of units in all sizes.  But anyway, we spent a lot of time inside.  The kids played with playdoh, games, and annoyed each other.
I made these.  I love rainbow colors and it drives me crazy when I like a card but the color is wrong for my layout so here is a rainbow of colors for you.  Below is a pretty shabby chic polka dot card set.  I am in love with polka dots right now.  Please download and enjoy!
Numerical Journaling Cards
and some of my favorite colors together…
Shabby Chic Polka Dot Journaling Cards

What are your favorite kind of journaling cards?