Saturday, December 31, 2016

West Coast - Mini Vaycay

I was hoping to get a post in, long before now, of our trip to the west coast.

We decided to take a mini family vaycay for several reasons. 

Reason one, we had air miles that needed used up before we lost them at the end of the year. [This has been a hot topic, because very recently, AirMiles announced that said miles won't expire after all] 

Reason two, with my recent job, I wasn't able to take much time off this summer, and therefore we didn't go away on our annual vacation. 

So, we booked a trip to the West Coast. 

The kids were thrilled. The last time we were at the ocean as a family was 2012. Madelyn has talked about going back ever since. 

We arrived in Victoria early. Very early. Like by 8:15 am, and had the whole day stretching out ahead of us. It was raining when we picked up our rental car, but as we made our way to the beach, it began to POUR. We had anticipated grey, rainy days, but I had not anticipated a monsoon. 

Lucky for us, when we got to the beach, the rain had stopped. At one point, the clouds even broke up, and we got to see blue sky. This ended up being the only time our entire trip, that we saw blue sky...

We brought rain 'resistant' clothes. But it took us mere minutes to realize that what we required was 'water proof'. [Mental note, if we were ever move to the west coast, we would most definitely need to invest in proper rain gear]

Here are a few images from our afternoon at French Beach. 

That was our driest day. From there, it only got wetter.

The next day, we decided to venture up to Botanical Beach. It's the farthest up the coast, at Port Renfrew. Madelyn was most excited about this trip, because she was ever so anxious to check out tidal pools. It's at least an hour drive away, on curvy roads, in nice weather. But the weather wasn't nice. It was absolutely pouring buckets of rain. We had the windshield wipers on high speed. It was so foggy, that we couldn't really see much. So we cautiously and slowly, headed in that direction. 

Let me just say, pictures do not do justice to what we saw. 

The intensity of the angry ocean took my breath away. The size of the waves... They were huge. It was so windy, and the waves were so angry, that it actually made me sick to my stomach to be standing so close to the water. [Though we were not close in that sense, we were up high and far away from it] But I wasn't comfortable until we got back on the trail again. We were all soaked. Madelyn was the only one who had a rain suit, but it just made her get all heated up and hot. 

On our way back from Botanical Beach, it was pretty obvious that the storm had intensified while we'd made the trek down to the beach. There was debris all over the highway. There were fallen trees all over. In fact, we had to make our way under one, in our vehicle... We carefully followed the guy ahead of us. By the time we got back to our hotel, we'd seen more than a dozen downed trees. Some had already been chainsawed so that vehicles could get through. 

Another mental note to self, if you move to the west coast, you require rain gear and a chain saw... 

We learned that evening, that the west coast was getting the remnants of former Super Typhoon Songda. We were driving along the coast highway, during the 2nd of 3 super storms. Like I mentioned, the photos don't do justice. We saw mother nature at her angriest, and she's more than impressive.

Next up, China Beach. This beach was/is my favourite. I have to say however, that high tide was noon-ish every day, so the water levels were always very high no matter which beach were were at. That meant, no exploring. Madelyn was devastated. We all were, because the tide was so high, and the water so stormy, we couldn't really do much but stand at the edge and look.

We ended up doing China Beach twice, the first day it rained so hard, we were absolutely soaked. Again, Miss Madelyn the only one in a rain suit. Of the 4 of us, she was the driest.

As soon as those boys left that rock they were standing on, and walked away, it was covered in water.. They were lucky not to be on it when that happened.

The second trip to China Beach, it actually stopped raining. Woot-woot! So we finally got to mooch around without getting soaked.

Even with the rain, we had a great time.

I think it's safe to say that the beach is our happy place. We didn't get to beach comb, scour and check out tide pools, like we'd have liked to. I guess the solution to that is to make a trip back next summer.

Thursday, December 1, 2016


I had planned to create a post about our recent trip to the west coast. We spent five rainy days in Sooke, just after thanksgiving. We saw more rain, that I ever could have imagined. We saw awesome stormy seas. We saw crazy heave fog and power outages. We were there, through the megastore [lucky us, without even planning]

But, that post will have to wait, because this post is about Gigi. 

My grandmother, my Dad's mum, passed away last weekend. She was 99 1/2 years old. She was the matriarch of the family, in every way, right until the end. 

I feel so fortunate, that I live close to my family. Both immediate, and extended. That allowed many, many visits over the years.

I can't believe that my kids got to know their Great Grandma [hence the Gigi] In fact, it was our own Mason who came up with the catchy nickname. She has been lovingly refereed to as such, for the last 14 years. 

Here are a few photos I have to share. 

She was a remarkable lady. She made the worlds best Gigi buns and Sour Cream Pie. She will be missed. 


This was taken in January 2016. Pretty great, for the being on the brink of 99 years young.

This one is blurry, but I love it. It's not always easy to be inconspicuous. 

Celebrating 96 in 2013. Grandkids [my brother and I] and great-grandkids. 
Christmas 2009 - look at how small the kids are. [Gigi alternated Christmas with us]

Monday, November 14, 2016

December Daily 2016 - Putting foundation pages together

So, I'm starting to get my head around my December Daily album.

I am disappointed with myself, with my lack of Halloween flair this year. [I knew I would be] I had such good intentions, to make this final elementary school year full of memories, but feel like I crashed and burned. First off, let me start by saying, that it's totally easy to feel inadequate, when you have perfect seeming bloggers and pinners out there. Everywhere. Pinning and posting and blogging their things. Their layouts are perfect. Their mini albums are perfect. Their house is perfect...

It's easy to feel this way, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I couldn't get sugar cookies made and decorated for Halloween this year. Or last year. Or probably, the year before that. I want to, but I just can't seem to get it together.

I can't to do it all. And, I have to be okay with that. And I sort of am. Until I start seeing the perfect christmas decorations. And cookies. And crafts. And mini albums, showing up the day after Halloween.

I'm working p/t, which makes things even more hectic than they were before. I can't give enough accolades to parents that are working full time. I don't know how you do it. My calendar hardly has an open day on it, from the beginning of September, until the end of March, when hockey and ringette are over. 

It would seem my ability to multi-task, is more of a 'multi-lack'. But I do what I can. 

Last year, I flew by the seat of my pants when it came to my December daily book.

Now, having gone back and looked at it, it's better than I thought. If you're interested, you can go check out this post here: December Daily 2015

This year my plan so far is to have a little bit more of the foundation put together before December hits. I don't print stuff off at home, even if I did print from home, for some reason, we can't get our printer set up properly for this new computer. I send my stuff to be printed at Costco. You just can't beat the price.

As far as my album goes, I don't know what's going to happen, on what days. However,  I like to have the date pages ready to go, at the very least. So when I have to work on pages/photos and then send them off to be printed, it adds another step. Another busy step, which has me going to Costco... Multiple times, during the holiday season. If you've ever been to Costco, I know you know what I'm talking about. Get in when the doors open and GET OUT....

This year, in anticipation of not having a working computer, I'd actually been excited to do a more hands on approach. More playing with paper, and less, digital stuff.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I finally got brave enough to download the new PSE15, and fiddle around with it. Then, a week or so ago, Sahlin Studio released 'Oh What Fun'.

There's no way you can look at this stuff, and not have DECEMBER DAILY ringing in your ears. I just love it. So, I'm going to try to do a bit of digital, and a bit of paper... The truth is, I just love the digital aspect of creating layouts... But I also love working with paper too. So, I hope to have a perfect  combination of them both. You have to go check out these products, they're awesome. [All products are listed and linked below]

This year, I decided to go with a 6x4 sized format. I purchased one of last years mini albums from  Ali Edwards. Last year I used a 6x6 size, and made a lot of my own page protector sheets that I cut down to size and used my We Are Memory Keepers Fuse Tool on. I have seen a few DD albums this 6x4 size, and was eager to try it this year.

Like I mentioned, these are not at all set in stone, and could change. But here are my first few foundation pages.

I was trying to get fancy with my sewing machine and make a round loop. I love that it looks like a misshapen heart, and I didn't even mean for it to. LOVE stitching in my albums. I like the look of the digital stitch too, but there's nothing like actually running the sewing machine across the page.

I backed all my 3x4 cards, with festive paper on the backs. I just didn't show them all. I also love this monthly calendar card, that I adhered to paper, and it's on it's own in the book.

These numbered 'day' pages, will be more of a guideline than anything else. I'm looking forward to seeing what December brings, in the way of stories.  And I plan to take a lot more photos this year, so that after Christmas, I'm not disappointed.

The following Sahlin Studio Products used:

Oh What Fun kit
Oh What Fun - Journal Cards
December Days No. 2
Number Journal Cards 

Halloween 2016

Halloween was on a Monday this year. Bummer.

We had the smallest amount of kids we've ever had, come to our house, only 27. Needless to say, we had left overs. For the first time though, I didn't run out and buy more candy 'just in case'.

It was a nice mild night. I'm not sure why our numbers dwindled so much...

Mason had a hockey practice, so he didn't go out. Though he did go to a friends house after hockey, under the premise that he was helping to hand out candy. 

For the first time ever, Madelyn went out with a friend. Her uncle came and took them out. It might have been her best haul of candy yet. 

Here are a few photos:

We carved pumpkins on Sunday night. I did the mummy pumpkin on the far right. Love how it turned out. Madelyn carved the 'gentleman walrus' on the far left. Mason got his done quickly, easy-peasy, lemon squeezy. He tried to get out of doing one at all, but his mean mum wouldn't let him. Barry's is the 3rd from the left.

Little miss had all sorts of ideas, of what she wanted to be. But, as usual, we waited until the last possible moment to put ideas and costumes together. We came up with the idea of a veterinarian, and as luck would have it, even found scrubs with paw print on it. [Many thanks to Ama, who promised she was headed to Value Village any way... ]

All the stars aligned this year. Not only did Madelyn get to go out trick or treating with a  friend, but she got to collect her loot in a pillow case. She finally wore me down this year, and I muttered "I don't care what you take" under my breath. Elated, she grabbed a pillow case, and they set off.

So grateful when we have a Halloween with no wind or snow. We totally lucked out this year.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Exciting News

So, I've taken a huge leap forward.

I downloaded PSE15 and I've been spending time familiarizing myself with the program. Some things are the same, some things are different. 

Plus, this time around I'm working on a Mac, which is different than the PC version I was used to. But... I'm getting it! [insert squeal here]

I started off by working on a template, it's actually free for the month of November only, on Sahlin Studio. Check it out here: free template for November.

But here is the final product!

I'm so excited. 

Just a super quick layout of our recent trip to the west coast. 

I also finally got the courage to plug in our external hard drive, and was rewarded with the fact that I do have access to all my photos, since switching over to a digital camera, in May 2005. Phew, that was a relief. I was so scared to do that, because 'what if' the pictures weren't there. 

So, I'm only missing stuff from January through August of this year, and I have all my iPhone photos since April, so I can breath a huge sigh of relief. 

And once I started tinkering around a little bit, it got less and less scary. [Though, my right arm and hand are most definitely feeling the after affects of too much mousing after a nearly 3 month hiatus]

I am fiddling with my project life pages again. I need to do a enormous 'catch up'. But I think I'm going to take a lot of stress off myself, and do a few months at a time, rather than weeks. 

Any way, to say I'm pleased, is an understatement. And naturally, I wish I'd gotten braver sooner. But I got brave when I had to. Looking forward to getting back to this method of memory keeping once again.

Sahlin Studio Product Used was: 

Monday, October 3, 2016

October, here we go...


I'm making progress. Sorta. With my new computer. Except I've just about been in tears on several occasions, because my kids 'do something' and I can't figure out how to 'un-do' what they've done. They probably know more than I do at this point. But I'm fighting them on it all the same. 

I'm learning about 'finder' and folders. [Finder is your best friend on a mac, so it seems]

I'm googling so much stuff... Some of it makes sense, some of it doesn't.

Now we're officially into October.

I seem to be in a bit of state, as the harsh realization that my 'baby' is in her last year of elementary school. At the same time, my first born is in his last year of Junior High School.

What the.... Seriously. When and how did this happen?

Our first order of business for October, what to be for Halloween.

For the first time ever, Mad asked if she could go out trick or treating with friends. A total bummer that Halloween falls on a Monday night this year. Also, a total bummer for her Uncle, who has taken her out all these years. But when she asked, I said ABSOLUTELY! My only request, make plans known with friends ahead of time. Please let's not be figuring out the logistics of this, on the 31st.

Aside from the costume, and the candy grab itself, we have the yearly Halloween Hop to plan for. I think Mason might have done this for the first time in Grade 2... I kept this on the down low, because really, a dance... For elementary school kids? Come on. Grade 6 kids help in the concession, with all proceeds going towards their Grade 6 farewell. It seems unbelievable that my 2nd kid is going to be taking on a concession shift.

I also gave Mad free reign over the weekend, to decorate the house. Let's face it, pinterest makes all of us feel a little unworthy. Or is that just me? So, I just let her decorate. And she's done a pretty good job. In a few weeks, it'll all be packed back into boxes.

Pinterest makes me want to be super mom... I want to bake. I want to craft. I want to spookify our house. Knowing that this is our last year of elementary school, i know there are so many things that I'll probably have to 'un-pin' soon. Many things that she'll consider 'too childish'. But the days rush on, the weeks rush by, and gosh, it's really hard to fit everything I want to in.

This upcoming weekend is Thanksgiving. Plus, Mad's in a ringette tourney. We have ringette games as well as practices. Mason is in an exhibition game, as well as practices. Try to squeeze in some time with family in there.  We have turkey to eat for heaven's sake! It's going to be a busy weekend. It's hard to find the time to craft. To bake. To create. Sometimes, I just want my downtime to be sitting on the couch, under a cozy blanket, with a nice hot cuppa tea.

I always get so optimistic about the upcoming seasons, and then they seem to bulldoze me over like a freight train.

First on and most important on the list. Decide on a costume, and get that together.

Then make skull and cross bone ice cubes. Ice cubes go in lots of things. Especially adult bevies.

I'm all about the baby steps. And adult bevies.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Baby Steps Forward and 2016 Week in the Life

***Warning, this post is picture heavy.

I've made some progress. Tiny little baby steps. But for me, a huge victory.

I figured out how to get photos from my iPhone onto our Mac. Yay me... [I'm sure any and all Mac users out there are thinking.... Whaaaaat? It's sooooooo easy!] We have a convoluted history, and many different apple products, all under different user names. To a non-technical person [ME] it's terribly confusing. Mason keeps telling us, to MAKE AN APPOINTMENT AT APPLE for heaven's sake... FIX IT! I'm convinced that if we do go in, they'll confiscate all of our devices.  If we're lucky, maybe give us back an old fashioned flip phone, and tell us to give our heads a shake.

I'm sure I could have easily transferred photos by simply plugging my iPhone into my Mac.  But I have a secret. Shhhhh... Come close, I'll tell you what it is. Closer... I haven't updated my phone for months. MONTHS. It sends me a friendly reminder almost every day. Which I politely decline, by hitting the button that says Remind Me Later... And the poor phone does remind me. Daily. But I just keep ignoring it.

Now I've got myself into the position, where all the photos on my PC are no longer accessible, and I've got over 2500 photos on my phone. Yes, you read right, 2500 pictures, ON MY PHONE.

Perhaps, you can now understand my hesitation... I don't want to lose anything.  So of course, I'm apprehensive to plug my phone into the computer. What if, I plugged in my phone into the Mac and it forces me to update, and I lose all my photos. That would suck. Royally.

I finally had a few hours this afternoon, and started googling things. Then I got brave, and tried a few things. Then I actually used this Mac [that we've had since January] for something other than checking out pinterest... So, I've now got a bunch of photos downloaded, and at least feel like I'm one baby step closer to getting back on track.

I'm obviously going to need to download a new version of PSE, but I'm one its-bitsy step closer. I'm at least headed in the right direction.

I'm sharing the mini album I created for this years Week in the Life, back in May.

I think I mentioned, in a previous post, that this was the first time in many years that I had little desire to play along with a week in the life. My DSLR had been [and still is] acting up on me. I hated the idea of taking a bunch of photos and then losing them, or not being able to access them. So, for the first time ever, I played along with a week in the life, using nothing but my iPhone.

I have seen a few scrapbook gals using a simple 4x4 format. Specifically, I'd seen this one from Stephanie Bryan. It super simple. It's super easy. It was right up my alley.

I knew I would regret not documenting our week. I also knew I didn't want to go to a ton of work.

This is the end result. There is still the repetitive nature I love. Each day has two 4x4 sized photos, one at the beginning of the day, the other signifying the end of the day. Sandwiched between those are multiple 2x2 sized photos, in a 4x4 page protector. I have journaled a few sentences for each day, pertaining to the 2x2 photos. I did this during one of my 'sleepless nights'. That however, is a post for another time, sadly it happens on more occasions than I appreciate. I put the photo portion of this little album together between the hours of 1 and and 5 am, and sent it off to Costco to be printed. I'm glad I did that, or they too would be sitting on our PC.

I'm super happy with how it turned out. [On another sleepless night, I updated the kids school albums for grades 5 and 8. Sadly I didn't send them to Costco... Grrr...] #somadatmyself

Here is this years Week in the Life, short and sweet, and filled with a smattering of memories.

Years from now, I might look back and wish I'd included more 'tidbits'. That I'd been more informative. Journaled more. More this. More that. However, I did it. I played along. I took photos. I documented our week, in the simplest manner. I don't regret this format at all. In fact, maybe I've even taken away something from it...

Let's face it, a picture takes you right back...