Wednesday, April 28, 2010

First Grade Research Project

My son came home a couple weeks ago with a letter explaining the research project his first grade class would be doing.  I'm not sure about you, but I don't remember doing a research project until I was in high school.  It definitely wasn't in elementary school!  I was shocked at the assignment, but thought it would be a great teaching opportunity.  Learning how to do a research project would be a valuable experience.  I was ready, and I wasn't about to let him procrastinate so we would be up late the night before it was due trying to get it done!  (I speak from experience with my own past projects.)  Ha!

For the last several weeks, his class has been learning about all the different kinds of animals, and each child would be doing their project on a specific animal.  The family of animals Ross drew out of the jar was amphibians, and he chose to do his project on frogs.

So off to the library we went in search of amphibian and frog books.  We left armed with a bag full of books on amphibians and frogs.  There was a lot of information to be learned in all those books.

As part of their project, they were to do their own research.  Try explaining that to a first grader who doesn't like to read.  Then try every day for a week to get him to do it.  After all, he had about 100 books he could look at!  He finally completed the first part of the project, a word web, and turned it in on time.  Woohoo!

Another part of the project was to make something - a detailed poster, a mobile, a clay figure, a video presentation, a powerpoint presentation,  a WHAT?!  A powerpoint presentation?  In first grade?  I am not kidding you, that was listed as one of the options.  I am a college graduate, and I don't know the first thing about powerpoint, except that it looks pretty cool to watch.  How on earth would I be able to help him with that?  It's a good thing his dad knows about that kind of stuff.  But that is beside the point.  The point is, he had to make something, and I tried for a week to encourage him to come up with some ideas.  I shared a few of my own ideas, but I really wanted this to be his project, so I tried to keep them to a minimum.  In the end, I probably had more of the ideas than he did, but he picked the ones he liked, and he did (almost) all of the work.  I did the hot glueing and the typing on the computer.  (After watching him hen peck the first sentence, I realized we wouldn't get done for a month, so I took over.)

So here we were, the day before the project was due, and he hadn't even started it.  Didn't I say I wasn't going to let that happen?  Yeah, right.  At least he knew exactly what he was going to do.  We had been talking about it all week, and had come up with some pretty good ideas.  We set to work, and this is what he came up with.

They will be graded partly on their creativity and details on the final project.  I think he did a great job in that area.

Notice the smaller male frog "croaking" to attract the larger female frog.  The googly eyes were all Ross' doing.  I thought that was really creative.  All of the descriptions are in Ross' own words.  I helped a little with the fluency, but he came up with everything else.

Recognize any of those stamps?  Ross loves to stamp with me, so using them on his project was a no-brainer.

We pulled grass from the yard, and Ross gathered up some dried leaves and twigs to add a little dimension to his poster.

The baggie at the bottom is mud and leaves at the bottom of the pond.  Thank goodness for the cheapie plastic frogs from the treasure box at piano lessons.  They worked perfect for his project.

We ended up finishing about an hour past his bed time.  Not bad given that I said I wasn't going to do that.  I remember telling him at one point that I was NEVER going to help him with a project the night before it was due EVER AGAIN!  He needed to learn to make better use of his time!

After he was all tucked in bed, I thought I'd better check the letter to see if he had met all the requirements for the project.  He had, but I was shocked when I read that the project wasn't due for another week.  How did I not catch that before?  That meant that I was going to have to eat the mean words I had said to him about not helping him the night before it was due.

The next morning, my bad news/good news was responded to with cheers and high fives.  I don't think he was upset at all.  He was just happy that I wouldn't be nagging him every day for the next week.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Hello Again plus Springtime in the Rockies Continued

One of the freebie sets I picked or SU!'s Sale-A-Bration this year was Hello Again.  I vacillated with the idea of ordering it, because it isn't really my style.  I thought it was cute, but knew I would have to work at getting it to work for me.  So it sat for several weeks longing to be inked.  I finally had time to search the SCS gallery for ideas, and decided on what I was going to do.  Then I just happened to see the CAS64 challenge to use orange, and this is the result.

The pierced line wasn't planned, but when I embossed the flowers, the edge of the folder left a line in the cardstock.  It looked really bad, so I improvised and added the piercing.  I lightly sponged pumpkin pie over the embossed flowers to give them a little more pop.

Supplies used:
Stamps - hello again, teeny tiny wishes
Paper - GKD PL white, old olive, pumpkin pie
Ink - Memento black, pumpkin pie
Accessories - pumpkin pie, so saffron, old olive, melon mambo and soft suede markers, CB folder and machine, ribbon, brads, paper piercer, sponge

I had fun using my new set, and thought I might as well make another card while I had it out.

I ended up making four.

Supplies used:
Stamps - hello again
Paper - kraft
Ink - pacific point, real red, rich razzleberry, melon mambo
Accessories - all the above colors plus summer sun and old olive markers, SAMJ (I won't stamp a sentiment without it!), stickles on flower centers

What do I think of my new set that I was going to have to work at using?  I love it!  It is really fun, and I can see lots of possibilities for it.  Sometimes you just have to think outside your comfort level and try something new.  I'm glad I did!

Springtime in the Rockies, continued

Remember my Colorado saying from yesterday?  Well someone must not have liked the weather because this is what we woke up to this morning.

More snow!!  It was only about an inch, but still!  All I can say is it's good for the grass and all the plants.

It also makes it that much harder for me to get my planting beds prepared.  Wet clay soil and tillers don't do well together.

Hoping for a dry spell...


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Springtime in the Rockies

The saying here in Colorado goes "If you don't like the weather, just wait 10 minutes and it will change."  That is how our spring has been this year.  A few weeks back, a record high temperature was set and 24 hours later we got over a foot and a half of snow.  It even stayed for a few days.

This is what it looked like two days ago on Friday...

It looked like the middle of winter, except for the buds and leaves on the trees.  It was such a pretty snow...big, fat, wet snowflakes.  The grass seemed like it turned green overnight.

Here are a few pictures from today...

Not a frozen water droplet anywhere in sight.

I love springtime in the Rockies!


Friday, April 23, 2010

P90X Complete!

WOO HOO!!!  We are officially done with P90X!  No more feeling guilty about eating chocolate!  Wait 'til you see how I celebrated...

On a side note, something happened to me this week that has never happened before.  At least that I can recall.  I joined a women's golf league this year, so the others members are just getting to know me.  I can have a pretty mean drive (I am convinced it's because of my increased core strength), and one of the other members was commenting on one of my monster drives.  She said "Where do you get your power?  You are so little."  It took a couple of seconds for me to register that she had called me little.  Me?  Little?  I have never thought of myself that way since I was a scrawny pre-pubescent teenager.  It felt really good though, and put a smile on my face for the rest of the day!

Here are my results:

                   Before                    After                 Difference

weight        141.8 lbs                  135.1 lbs            -6.7 lbs
BMI           24.2                          23.07
Resting heart rate 68                     53                      15
chest          36 3/4"                     35"                    -1 3/4"
waist           30"                          27 1/2"              -2 1/2"
hips             38 3/4"                   36 7/8"               -1 7/8"
R thigh        20 3/8"                   20"                      -3/8"
L thigh        20 1/8"                   19 3/4"                -3/8"
R arm         12 1/4"                   11 5/8"                - 5/8"
L arm         11 3/4"                   11 1/4"                -1/2"

Total inches lost - 8!

Things I Have Learned
  • I don't like to cook (I already knew that, this just reinforced it!)
  • everything in moderation - that includes chocolate!
  • I love asparagus soup
  • my husband can be trained to wash dishes and cook - heehee!
  • eating healthy every day is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be
  • my body composition can be changed, even at my age.  That is what I am most happy about.
  • I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT CHOCOLATE!  Sorry, but there's no other way to say it.
That being said, here is how I celebrated my graduation from P90X...

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake with Real Whipped Cream.  Yum!!  Did you expect anything different?

The best thing about it was I didn't feel one ounce of guilt!

Thanks for hanging with me through this whole ordeal.  It's been a great journey, and it isn't really over.  It will be a way of life for me.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Purging Find

I was prompted to purge my craft supplies after I read a post on SCS.  That will be a different post, but today, I wanted to show you what I made with one of my discoveries.  Shoved way in the back of one of my drawers was a pack of 6 flower brads I had bought at Target's dollar spot many moons ago.  As I looked at it, a card idea popped into my head, and this is what I made...

Two very quick and easy cards that are cheery, bright, and colorful.

Supplies used:
Stamps - Teeny Tiny Wishes
Paper - GKD PL white
Ink - Memento black
Accessories - felt flower brads, scor-pal, glue dots, SAMJ

Enjoy your day!

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Gardener's Work is Never Done

Or in my case, a gardener's work is just beginning.  When we bought our house 3 1/2 years ago, the yard was it's best feature.  I hadn't even seen the inside of the house, and I knew this was going to be our home.  We ended up doing a lot of construction to the house, but that's an entirely different post (or five!).  Here are some pictures of our wonderful 1/2 acre 'jungle' as it came to be known.

These were taken in June of 2006, and almost the entire perimeter of the yard was overgrown with everything that had ever been planted there 40 years ago.  Thus 'the jungle'.  After taking an entire day to clear about a 10'x10' area with a chain saw, we decided to hire someone else to clear it out.  We've come a long way since then.  Here are pictures of what it looks like now.

Notice the area to the right of the pine trees on the right side of the picture.  This is where I envisioned a sitting area.  That is my purpose for this post.  I am finally going to plant something there!  I wanted to post a before picture to track my progress.  I have immersed myself in flower garden/landscaping books, and I'm ready to take the plunge.  My perfectionism has kept me from doing anything until now.  For some reason, I think it has to be perfect.  But in reality, if it doesn't work, it can be changed. 
Here is what I am starting with.

I just spent the entire day removing the mulch and weed fabric that my husband so lovingly placed there last year.  I still have more mulch to remove (left foreground), but ran out of time and energy today.  You can see the pile of mulch I's behind the far pine tree right in the middle.  I still need to prepare the soil for planting, and with my schedule, that probably won't happen until this weekend.  But at least I started!

Now, if I could just get all the weeds pulled!

Stay tuned.  I will post pictures of my progress!


Friday, April 16, 2010

Feeling Punchy Today

I got my XL Two-Step Bird punch that was backordered from SU! today, so I had to make a quick card with it.  I also stopped by Michael's today and got a few punches and some more ribbon since they were on sale.  One can never have too many punches or enough ribbon!

I love how this ribbon coordinates perfectly with tempting turquoise and Pacific point. My whole idea for this card was planned around the ribbon and my new border punch.

After I cut the circle out of GKD PL white cardstock, I sponged the whole thing with So Saffron.  Then I masked the sun with a 1 1/4" circle punched out of a sticky note and sponged more saffron, then pumpkin pie around the edges, being careful not to go all the way to the sun.  Then I removed the sun mask and softened the sun edges by sponging a little more saffron around it.

The branches were punched twice from old olive and garden green and layered to create a little dimension.  I sponged the bird with turquoise, then Pacific point just around the edges.  Half pearls were colored with Copic markers to match.

Supplies used:
Stamps - none
Paper - GKD PL white, pacific point, old olive, garden green, tempting turquoise, black
Ink - so saffron, pumpkin pie, tempting turquoise, pacific point
Accessories - Nestabilities, wizard, XL Two-Step Bird punch, 1 1/4" circle punch, 1/16" punch, Scallop Diamond edger punch (ek success), sponges, dimensionals, ribbon, half pearls, Copics



P90X Update Week Fourteen

Are we done yet?  That is mostly how I felt about the meal plan this week.  My husband was traveling for the third week in a row, and I didn't feel like cooking very much.  My meals were a little on the unbalanced side, and I ate way too many carbs, and not enough salads and veggies.  Not to mention the bag of Reese's peanut butter cups that was on clearance after Easter.  Why did I even buy it?  Ugh!

The longer I do this, the more I realize I don't really enjoy cooking.  I wish I loved to cook as much as PW, but the fact is, I don't.  I've tried, but I don't know what I'm missing.  It's just something that I'm not passionate about.  And unfortunately, if I don't cook, we go out to eat.  Dear hubby is not much of a chef.  Something about the smoke alarm as a dinner bell isn't very appetizing, but I do appreciate his effort, and don't complain about the blackened crusts on everything.  (Or the tuna salad with 2 tablespoons of celery seeds that he surprised me with by making one day.)

I am going to reach out to all 5 of my readers today for some help in the kitchen.  How do you plan your meals?  Daily?  Weekly?  At 5:00 when it's time for dinner?  (That would be me!)  Do you love to cook?  Or hate it?  Have you always loved it, or did you learn to love it?  What do you enjoy about cooking?  Did you luck out and marry a professional chef?  What can I do to find the passion?  Help me please!  Any tips would be much appreciated by me and my waistline.

Speaking of waistline, I gained a little weight this week (thanks, Reese's!), so now I have my work cut out for me for our final week on the program.  Final weigh in and pics are coming up at the end of the week.  Guess I better get my hiney in gear!

Have a great day!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

As Clean and Simple as it Gets

I made a card this week that is probably one of the simplest cards I have ever made.  A stamped image with a simple frame popped up on dimensionals with a sentiment to go with it.  It doesn't get much simpler than that!

I made this for CAS62 - an inspiration challenge inspired by postcards from Mackinac Island, Michigan.  I didn't even need to see a postcard since I spent many weeks of my life as a kid around the shores of Lake Michigan.  The first thought that came to my mind was a bicycle.  There are no motorized vehicles on Mackinac Island (except for emergency vehicles), so one of the easiest ways to get around is on a bicycle.  I remember one time when my family and I went to Mackinac Island, I rode my rented bicycle all the way around the island without any hands.  That was such a big deal to me way back then.  I was so proud of myself!

I love the retro feel of the Bermuda Bay color.  I wish I had a Cruiser in this color!  It screams classic to me, so I let it do all the talking on this card.  No embellishments needed!

Supplies used:
Stamps - Just riding, Tee talk (GKD)
Paper - GKD PL white, Bermuda bay, basic black
Ink - black and Bermuda Bay markers to color stamp
Accessories - Nestabilities, SAMJ, dimensionals

I also included a sneak peek at one of the new SU! core colors - Daffodil Delight.  It is a gorgeous yellow!


Sunday, April 11, 2010

P90X Update Week Thirteen (Phase 2 Revisited)

I'm a little late posting this update.  It's hard to believe, but I haven't even been on my computer for the past 3 days.  It is spring, we've had nice weather (finally), and yard work was my priority.

If my husband and I would have stuck to the plan, we would be done with the P90X program now.  But we were "bad" for 2 weeks, and decided they needed to be re-done.  So we still have two more weeks to go.

This past week we went back to Phase 2 with the meals, which introduces more carbs.  (That reminds me - I'm supposed to be posting pictures of our meals.  Oops...guess I've been too hungry, and I've been forgetting to take pictures.)  Phase 2  was easier for me this time around.  I found that I was still hungry between meals, and ate all my allotted snacks.  Plus a little chocolate...shhh...don't tell anyone!  I did fine at Easter, but didn't show much restraint at bunko.  Maybe it was the glass(es) of wine!  Oh, well, at least that only comes once a month.  The exercises went really well this week, too.  I think my control issues have subsided, at least for the time being, and I wanted to work out every day.  I never had to force myself this week.  That's how I want it to be...I hope it stays that way.

Once again, I didn't lose any weight this week, but that's ok.  My clothes are almost falling off of me now, so I'm not too concerned about the number on the scale.  I am feeling stronger, and can really push myself to "Bring It" during the exercises.

Weight, just like age, is just a number.  How you feel is much more important in my book.

Thanks for stopping by.  K

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My Own Layout

It isn't very often that I come up with my own layout.  I usually take bits and pieces from other cards I've seen, or use a sketch from a sketch challenge, but this card just came to me one day.  It was floating around in the big void of my head for a long time before it actually made it to paper.  The CAS61 challenge at SCS to stamp only the sentiment was the perfect opportunity for me to use it.

This card is also to honor SU!'s announcement of their color renovation this week.  These are all colors that will be in the revised Brights color family.  I am very excited about their color revisions - so many of the current colors are old and tired and need to go away.  And I am very glad they chose some of my favorite In Colors to be core colors.  My stockpile of cardstock won't go to waste after all!

Here is my card...

Don't you think these colors look great together?  I think the Brights family is going to be my favorite.  What a refreshing change from the garish bold colors of the past (well, almost past).  The new Brights family includes real red, tangerine tango (returning In color), pumpkin pie, daffodil delight (brand new color), old olive, pacific point (returning In color), tempting turquoise, rich razzleberry (current In color), melon mambo (current In color), and regal rose.

Supplies used:
Stamps - PTI out on a limb sentiments
Paper - GKD white, melon mambo, old olive, patterns pack II
Ink - old olive, regal rose
Accessories - Nestabilities, Wizard, trio flower and spring flower bouquet punches, old olive satin ribbon, dimensionals, liquid pearls, dauber

Thanks for stopping by today.

Toodles, K

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Make Your Own Bow Easy

Sometimes I can be such a cheapskate!  I have no problem spending $30 on a new set of SU! stamps, but $4 for a piece of cardboard?  No thanks, I'll make my own.

To make my own bow easy, I used one of the plastic paper dividers that came with my Cropper Hopper 12x12 paper storage units.  I printed off a copy of a bow easy, and measured all the little tabs to get a rough idea of how big to make them.  You can certainly make them any size you want.  Then I just drew the lines in with a pencil and cut them with a pair of generic scissors.  The plastic is really easy to cut, so no need to use anything heavy duty.  I used my Crop-a Dile to punch a hole at the top of each slit to round it a little.  I also rounded the outer corners with the scissors.  On mine, the small slits are 1/8", and the larger ones are 3/16" and 5/16".

I will probably only use it when I make double bows, but at least it was free!

Have yourself a great day!


Saturday, April 3, 2010

I stamped again!

It has been a long time since I have stamped anything.  I have had lots of ideas, but just can't make any of them into a card.  It seems I always get 'stuck' on something and can't put it all together.

I really liked the color challenge this week on SCS - CC264 bermuda grey saffrons, so that is where I started.  I also wanted to try the dessert option to make a smooshed flower.  I had no idea how to make one, but played around until I got a half-way decent looking flower.  It was really fun to make, and adds a lot of dimension to the card.

To make a smooshed flower, punch several layers of any flower shape out of cardstock or patterned paper.  I stamped a background stamp on this one in saffron ink to give it a little texture.  Then just smoosh it up!  I curled the edges, rolled it into a ball, and just played with it until the paper was pliable enough to shape it a little bit.  You may want to take it a little easier with patterned paper since it isn't as heavy as cardstock and it may tear.  But that would be ok, too.  It would just be more distressed.  Sponging the edges after you smoosh it up gives it a nice distressed look.  Starting from the bottom up, I used my Tombow mono-multi to adhere the layers together just in the center of the flowers.  I did one layer at a time and gathered the center a little on each flower and let it dry before adding the next flower.  Gathering it brings the edges in little, making the 'petals' slightly smaller.  Use as many layers as you want, then just pop a button or brad in the center, and you have a beautiful smooshed flower!

Supplies used:
Stamps - Medallion, boho backgrounds, PTI out on a limb sentiments
Paper - Bermuda bay, so saffron, basic grey
Ink - Versamark (for medallion), basic grey, bermuda bay
Accessories - scallop circle punch, button and half pearls colored with Copics, Nestabilities, ribbon

Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, April 2, 2010

P90X Update Week Twelve (Phase I Revisited)

In our attempt to refocus and shred some of the sludge that had accumulated the previous two weeks, my hubby and I decided to do the fat burning phase again this week.  We did the menu and exercises from week 1.  It involved a little more cooking on my part (egg white omelettes with some form of protein and veggies vs. store bought whole wheat waffles), but it was definitely worth it.  I didn't crave carbs or chocolate like I did the previous weeks, but I think that was just hormonal!  Every once in a while, I snuck an M&M from the kids' stash (shhh!  don't tell them!), but I didn't eat a whole bag like I would have previously.  I learned that depriving myself doesn't work, so now I will allow myself to have a bite, but only a bite, if I want it.

We have both recovered from our "injuries" and jumped right back on the bandwagon and exercised every day.  It felt really good, too.  I only had to force myself to work out one day this week.  The rest of the days, it just happened without even thinking about it.  I wish it could be like that all the time.  Sometimes life gets really busy, and the first thing to go is working out.  It suddenly disappears from the priority list.  But we all know what happens when we don't stay active.  Sludge starts to accumulate, we say "I'll work out tomorrow", and we end up right where we started.  I don't want that to happen again.

I did another jaw drop when I weighed myself this morning, but it was a happy jaw drop.  I lost all 4 lbs that I had gained in the previous two weeks.  I'm sure most of it was water weight from our little Chili's shenanigan, but at least I am back to where I want to be.

Today I am going to challenge you to go for a walk.  Even if it's just around the block or a shopping mall if the weather is bad.  Get out and breathe the fresh air.  Enjoy the beautiful spring weather.  Think about how much better you will feel when you are done!  If you are already used to exercising, increase your intensity or reps to change it up a bit.  You'll be glad you did!

Time for me to Bring It!  (That's a P90X thing)