Friday, February 26, 2016

Classic Paris Scrapbook Page

Lest you think I had moved on to scrapbooking stuff from 2015 because all of my 2014 pictures were scrapbooked, you would be wrong. I still haven't finished our 2014 vacation pictures to London and Paris.


So here is a quick page I made the other day about the Eiffel Tower.

The letter stickers and some of the embellishments on this are from the Basic Grey Mon Ami collection. The "Bonjour" embellishment was something in my travel scrapbook stash, and I don't know the manufacturer of the Eiffel Tower scrapbook paper.

The journaling reads: "Instead of going up in the Eiffel Tower, we went up in the Montparnasse Tower (really a skyscraper) for a view of the Eiffel Tower and Paris. That was a really cool experience. Plus, our hotel room gave us a view of the Eiffel Tower, so all we had to do was look out our window to see it lit up at night!"

We would highly recommend avoiding the crowds and expensive Eiffel Tower tickets (unless it's just a must-have for you) and doing the Montparnasse Tower instead. It was definitely worth it! Probably the only part of our Paris trip that we liked. Seriously!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Portland Head Light Scrapbook Page

I did it! I finished scrapbooking all the pictures from last year's New Hampshire/Maine weekend vacation. Phew! This is the last two-page layout.

For this layout I used American Crafts papers and embellishments. The only thing on here that is not American Crafts are the letter stickers. Those are old Basic Grey stickers.

If you don't know, the Portland Head Light was commissioned by George Washington in 1790. It's obviously not in use anymore, but it still stands and if you go during the in-season (which was not the time we were there), you can even tour a museum to learn more about the lighthouse and the area.

I was really glad that I could use the American Crafts stars and blue brads from my stash on this layout. They added some nice texture to the pages.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Portland 2015 Scrapbook Page

Here is another two-page layout from our New Hampshire/Maine trip last year.

When I say "Portland", I mean Portland, Maine. We have been to Portland, Oregon before, but not on this trip. It was a nice city, but we didn't have a whole lot of time to explore. We were just there before going to a minor league hockey game.

Here are close-ups (with better coloring) of each page.

Much like Paris, Portland also has a locks of love thing. These locks are chained to a chainlink fence. I don't think it's causing structural damage to anything. The city also has part of the Berlin Wall on display. We weren't totally sure how it managed to get a hold of that.

And then there's the Portland Pirates hockey team! They lost when we saw them, but we still had fun attending the game.

With the exception of the letter stickers, everything on this layout is from the Sassafras Lass Amplified collection or some other Sassafras Lass collection. I have a whole drawer of Sassafras Lass stuff, so I'm glad that I got to use up some of it. (I don't think this company is still around.)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

B/C We're Happy Scrapbook Page

And I'm back this week with even more scrapbook pages!! I can't believe how much I'm getting done, but at the same time, there is still soooooo much more to do.

Here is a quick page I put together using old Basic Grey supplies, some random embellishments from my stash, and Target $1 Spot sticker letters (the polka dot ones). Those sticker letters don't stick very well, so I had to run them through my Xyron to get them extra sticky.

This is a picture of me and some co-workers at a work event last April. Everybody loves Minions, right?

I really liked putting everything on an angle for this one. I just love angled layouts. What do you think?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Meal Plan Monday - February 22

I'm not sure how much longer I'll be posting meal plans. We've got a full week of meals for this week, but that could all change if the baby gets here early. We'll see what happens!

Sunday: chicken parmesan

Monday: macaroni and cheese

Tuesday: chicken BLT salad

Wednesday: pea pesto pasta

Thursday: rotisserie chicken paninis (Sort of based on this Rachael Ray recipe but without the deli ham and bleu cheese b/c I can't eat either right now.)

Friday: pepper jack cheesy mac

Saturday: on our own

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Springtime Scrapbook Page

Here's another layout of a picture from April 2015. I had this picture in my to-be-scrapped binder, and I just knew that somewhere in my folder of pre-made scrapbook pages I had a perfect one-picture layout for this picture. Voila!

Sometimes it pays to pre-make pages. Do you guys do that?

All I had to do was add the sticker letters (Basic Grey - loved that I was using up some of those) and the journaling spots. The rest was already on the page!

This is a picture of a gorgeous tree in New York City's Madison Square Park. I was staying overnight in the city and spent the evening walking through the park on my way to Milk Bar when I saw this tree. And as much as I despise NYC, I just had to take a picture because the tree really was pretty. Here's a close-up of the tree:

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Live Free or Die Scrapbook Page

It probably looks like I've been doing nothing but scrapbooking lately. In actuality, I haven't even had that much time for scrapbooking, but with what little time I've had, yes, I have been scrapbooking. I managed to get a two-pager done from our New Hampshire/Maine trip last spring. Hard to believe these pictures were taken last year!

"Live Free or Die" is New Hampshire's state motto, if you didn't know. And all of these pictures are the signs we saw while driving around. I had to look up what the heck "Frost Heaves" meant because I saw that sign all over the place!

And then the second page has a picture of the hotel we stayed at. It was really nice!

This is going to be the opening to these vacation scrapbook layouts.

This was a pretty simple layout to put together, and I used pieces from a coordinating travel kit, so that made it even easier.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Secret to Hummingbird Cake - Book Review

In The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale, we meet three best friends: Ella Rae, Laine, and Carrigan. They've been friends since elementary school, and even though they are all now 30, they are still just as close. But soon life gets in the way. Carrigan, the main narrator of the story, is preoccupied with whether or not her husband is cheating on her. And this preoccupation causes her to act out of character and not pay attention to when her friends need her most. When tragedy strikes this small-town trio, how will they rally together to make it through?

If you like light and fluffy novels, then this would be a good pick for you. There were subplots, or at least there was one subplot trying to be a subplot, but the author didn't really go too deep with that one. And I thought it would have more weight with the story.

But that aside, it's a quick and easy read about friendship with a small dose of religion thrown in. And even the religion aspect didn't get too deep, which is what I was definitely expecting. I mean, this is published by a Christian publisher!

What really needed to be thrown in, though, was some copy editing. Don't print a book if you can't correctly spell Dolce & Gabbana.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sweet Candy Scrapbook Page

Alright, kids. Here's another scrapbook page I made using up Cosmo Cricket papers and embellishments for pictures from our New Hampshire/Maine trip. These are pictures from Chutter's, the candy store with the world's longest candy counter. You can see one angle of it in the first picture on this layout.

It was almost candy overload! I didn't know what to choose! I settled on chocolate-covered bacon, which I had never had before. It tasted sort of caramel-y.

I have no idea who made the sticker letters for "candy". I feel like they were part of a Basic Grey collection but I could be wrong. I'm just glad I got to use them finally. They have been in my stash for a long time!

What have you guys been scrapbooking?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Food Scrapbook Page

Still don't have the new scrap room set up yet, but I've been transporting my supplies between downstairs and upstairs so that I can get some photos scrapped, especially before the baby comes. I'm still working on the pictures from our 2015 New Hampshire/Maine mini vacay. This is a two-pager I made of all the places we ate gluten-free while on vacation.

Here's a close-up of the first page:

It features pictures from the Purple Finch Cafe (best bagel sandwich - not gluten-free, unfortunately), Lexie's Joint (yummy burgers), and Ben's Sugar Shack (for some REAL maple syrup).

And here is the second page:

We've got pictures on this page from the White Mountain Cupcakery (gluten-free cupcakes on Saturdays only), Friendly Toast (got me hooked on eggs benedict), and Rafferty's (mac and cheeeeeeese).

My husband did a great job of researching places to eat while we were away. It's so important to research gluten-free restaurants BEFORE you go so that you're not stuck trying to figure out where to eat and get hungry in the process.

I scraplifted something I saw on Pinterest to make this two-pager, and I was able to use up some Cosmo Cricket papers and supplies that have been sitting in my stash for quite too long. Sometimes I wonder if any of these scrapbook companies are still in business. It feels like I go so long between buying new stuff that I'm totally out of the loop on what's new in the scrapbook world.

I mean, I read recently that Basic Grey was no longer doing its scrapbook line, and that is super sad to me! I used to LOVE Basic Grey and still have a drawerful of paper and embellishments that I need to use up. Maybe I should have bought more of their stuff to keep them in business? What do you guys make of that news?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

This Pie Is Nuts Review

This is why networking is such a good idea. One of my former co-workers is now working for a local company that makes gluten-free mini pies, and she asked me if I'd like some pie samples to review. Who passes up free pie?

There are five pie flavors, and I got to sample the Purely Pumpkin and Chocolate Mousse. The other flavors include Coconut Cream, Sweet Potato Ginger, and Key Lime.

Aren't these little pie squares SO CUTE?

Okay, but they are also really yummy, which is good news for anyone on a gluten-free diet. The pie crust is made out of nuts (almonds, pecans, and cashews), so you get a nice crunchy crust, and the whole thing is gluten-free, certified vegan, and certified Paleo. There's no dairy or eggs. The pies are also made in a soy-free, peanut-free, and gluten-free kitchen. (They may contain tree nuts.)

I liked the pumpkin pie filling because it tasted pretty close to the real thing. I'm not used to pumpkin pie with a nutty crust, so that took some getting used to. The chocolate mousse pie was probably my favorite of the two. I love chocolate, and it worked so well with the crust!

The company also makes granola, which I think would be perfect for adding some crunch to plain or vanilla Greek yogurt. The granola I sampled was made with sunflower seeds, maple syrup, cashews, cacao nibs, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, unsweetened shredded coconut, coconut oil, flax seeds, chia seeds, and sea salt. Just like the pies, the granola is also gluten-free, certified Kosher, and certified Paleo.

Why the focus on these ingredients? Chef Diana changed her own diet after being diagnosed with MS 20 years ago. She enrolled and graduated from the Natural Gourmet Institute, and now she is sharing her healthier-ingredient food and ideals with the rest of you through This Pie is Nuts.

Right now you can only find these pies and granola in the New York City area. There are several area locations that sell This Pie is Nuts, including lots of Mrs. Green's stores. If you're not in the New York area, be patient! Hopefully, This Pie is Nuts will be able to ship online orders so that more people can enjoy the yumminess!

You can find more information on This Pie is Nuts at the company's website.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Meal Plan Monday - February 8

Happy day after Superbowl, everyone! I don't care who won. What I do care about is trying to fix my computer. Due to my laptop's power cord going kaput last week, I didn't blog on Thursday or Friday. In fact, I'm using my husband's computer to make this post, but hopefully, I'll be getting a new power cord and that will fix the problem. Fingers crossed!

While we wait, we eat! And here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday: out

Monday: leftover hamburger stroganoff

Tuesday: tacos

Wednesday: breakfast for dinner

Thursday: pasta

Friday: soup and grilled cheese

Saturday: TBD

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Ragamuffin Gospel - Review

I've had Brennan Manning's The Ragamuffin Gospel on my to-read list since 2011. After many years of not being able to find it at local libraries (and being too cheap to buy it somewhere), the book finally became available for review through the Blogging for Books program.

The version I have is the 25th anniversary edition, so it doesn't have the foreword by Michael W. Smith (nooo!) but it still has the wonderful words of Manning.

And just what are those words?

The Ragamuffin Gospel is basically a book that points out how confused Christians are these days about God's grace. Some Christians feel they are doing everything right and are the perfect examples of what God wants Christians to be. And because of this, they ignore their own sins but judge others for theirs. What is wrong with this scenario is that you can't DO anything to earn God's grace. That's not how it works, and if these Christians were "real" Christians, they would know this by reading it in the Bible.

Other Christians feel that they are just too far out of God's reach. They've sinned. They don't do enough. God couldn't possibly want to extend grace to these people. What's wrong with this scenario is that Jesus specifically came to Earth for these types of Christians. It doesn't matter how much you've sinned or what your sins were. Jesus came to forgive you, to extend grace to you, to enter into a personal relationship with you.

There is a quote from minister Lloyd Ogilvie in this book that I think sums up what our attitude toward God's grace should really be: "Our whole understanding of him [God] is based in a quid pro quo of bartered love. He will love us if we are good, moral, and diligent. But we have turned the tables; we try to live so that he will love us, rather than living because he has already loved us." (p.169)

Toward the end of the book, Manning asks some good questions:

Do you live each day in the blessed assurance that you have been saved by the unique grace of our Lord Jesus Christ? After falling flat on your face, are you still firmly convinced that the fundamental structure of reality is not works but grace? Are you moody and melancholy because you are still striving for the perfection that comes from your own efforts and not from faith in Jesus Christ? Are you shocked and horrified when you fail? Are you really aware that you don't have to change, grow, or be good to be loved? (p. 188)
If you find yourself struggling with the answers to these questions, if you think of yourself as bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt-out, then you are a ragamuffin. And this book is for you.

I received a free copy of The Ragamuffin Gospel from Blogging for Books for this review.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Using Up Studio Calico Scrapbook Supplies

So I managed to get another scrapbook layout completed. Go me! I literally took all the Studio Calico stuff that I had in my Studio Calico supplies drawer and turned it into this one-page layout. It didn't turn out exactly the way that I wanted it to, but I'm just glad that I was able to use up scraps and embellishments and get a layout from our New Hampshire/Maine trip finished. (I still have five other layouts to complete for this vacation. Yes, I divided up my pictures already.)

based on a sketch from
These were pictures from when we were driving through the White Mountains. It was a really gorgeous drive!

And then, I used up even more of the scraps to create two random cards. So, all in all, pretty proud of myself for getting this much done. I'm hoping to create a little more this weekend. We shall see!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Meal Plan Monday - February 1

I was rarely home this weekend because of all the running around I had to do to make up for not going anywhere last weekend. But I still had a chance to create a meal plan for this week. Here it is:

Sunday: Italian sausage and potato roast

Monday: on our own

Tuesday: on our own

Wednesday: spaghetti and Mama Mancini's gluten-free turkey meatballs

Thursday: on our own

Friday: hamburger stroganoff

Saturday: TBD

What are you guys eating this week?