The Real Reason For Make it Monday

We’ve finally made it. 

While other kids started yesterday, others last week, and still others at various intervals throughout the rest of August, my kids are going back to school today.  

*Cue a sigh of relief.  

I’m not sure what my day holds yet- my husband is home but is gearing up to leave town again for the next 3 days (so he says…I won’t be surprised if it turns out to be longer), and the rains are coming. We had severe thunderstorms roll through Tuesday overnight and more is forecasted for today. 

We will return to walking- as long as the weather holds until later in the morning. Freddie and I (my white, four legged fur baby) need to get back to our morning walks. He’s going through withdrawals similar to my scrappy withdrawals. 

This year, our walk will be longer than last year (and I thought the walk was long then, lol). The twins’ entrance is on the furthest side of the school from our house. It’ll be great exercise- for all four of us! I think after I drop them off, I’ll take the “long” way home again, instead of going the easiest, most efficient way. At least, until the weather becomes unbearably cold. Then, I’m heading to the gym.

(I had intended to share a layout today, but it appears the universe had other plans!)

Why do I mention all this talk about walking and exercise? Well, for the same reason I started sharing Make it Monday- for inspiration. I had wild success sharing what I’m about to share with you to my Instagram- people found it profoundly inspiring and encouraging, so maybe the same would happen here? It’s worth a try.

If anything, it’ll be a good reminder for me, and source of encouragement. It all began with the strain of our economy and finding ways to save money. But, at that point, what I had to do was just in my head, and hadn’t been put into action, yet. Mostly because I was lazy and comfortable- I’ve always struggled with motivation and self-restraint. I have very little will-power. Can anyone relate?

In the midst of trying to sort out some health problems my husband was (and still is) battling, my husband was diagnosed with pre-diabetes. As a result, his doctor wanted him to take some health classes at our local hospital. He asked that I go along with him. I obliged. 

I never thought what the dietician would say would have such a profound impact on me. I took her words- and advice- to heart. I made two small changes, and the result has been incredible. 

The changes? I cut pop from my diet, though I do indulge in the occasional one every so often. The difference is I don’t drink them like my life depends on it anymore. In addition to cutting that sugar out of my diet, I began walking. 

I began walking to 1) save money by burning less gas through driving and 2) to help my body turn the fatty and sugary foods I was still eating into energy instead if letting it be stored as fat instead. 

By March of this year (I began making these changes late last year), people began asking me if I was losing weight. By April, my clothes- especially my jeans and a skort I own- started becoming looser. 

*Note: undies included! I used to tease my babies about having “droopy drawers”- now I do! Lol

I also started recording my weight. By the beginning of this August, my father in law told me I was “wasting away”. (My jeans are absolutely annoying to wear, now. I really want to go shopping for new clothes, but I’m scared to. I don’t want to jinx myself.)

When I began, my goal wasn’t to lose weight. I only wanted to become a little more healthy, in an effort to cut the chances of developing serious health problems- and worse. We’ve experienced losing enough close friends to unexpected deaths for various reasons, I didn’t want to be another statistic. Losing weight was (and is) an added bonus. I am trying to teach my girls to be healthy- what we weigh shouldn’t matter, as long as our bodies are healthy. That means keeping everything in balance. Eat your sweets, but get your feet moving to facilitate your body’s job of absorbing and breaking down the food you eat. I hope that I can live by example for them, and I hope that’s enough to foster a positive body image for them. I hope the same for my husband, too.

Even though I am making a big deal about losing weight here on my blog, we don’t make a big deal about our weight or what each of us looks like in real life. Our main thing is eating fresh and moving our bodies. We all come in different sizes and shapes; it’s what makes us unique and beautiful. I will never have a flat tummy or a space between my thighs. That’s ok. As long as I’m healthy. My daughters may not either, but they’re still beautiful. They should never feel ashamed of how they are built or look.

I was overweight when I began this journey. I don’t know what I weighed at the beginning- I avoided the scale like the plague. We also did not own a scale, so ignoring the obvious was easy. I think I weighed around the 200 pound mark. When I began recording my weight, I honestly thought I’d lost 15 pounds. Maybe. When we were at the hospital for healrh class, or to meet the dietician, i woukd use hwr scale to record my weight. I was elated to find I had begun losing weight. 

Until recently, I  didn’t think I’d lost as much as I have. When I finally took a before/during picture, I was astonished to see I’d lost closer to 30 pounds. My husband was astonished to see the change, too. I like how he looks at me now. It’s flattering and insanely encouraging. 

Since the picture on the right was taken, I’ve lost one more pound. I’ve added eating more fresh fruit and veggies into my diet since my journey began, as well. Which is why I began sharing recipes with you. I am still the girl with no will power and a sweet tooth that’s larger than she is, so youll sometimes see comfort food, unhealthy recipes. But, I’ll also share better for you recipes, so when I find ones that are quick and simple to make and are super tasty, I have to share!

So, where am I going with this? I’m not really sure anymore. Lol. If you’ve had a little thought in the back of your brain that’s urging you to make a change, do it. Your future self will thank you for it, and your body will thank you for it. Not to mention your family. The last thing they need is a life without you. (And who wouldn’t like being oogled by their husbands?!)

One important thing to remember is to start small- choose just one thing to change. Keep on it until you master it. Then add something else. Once that’s habit, add something else. Don’t overwhelm yourself by cutting everything “cold turkey” and set yourself up for failure. I think that was the key to my own personal success. I set myself up for success for once. It’s easier than you think!

Need more proof?

(My first skinny girl outfit). And, for the record, I’ve wanted a form fitting denim jacket for eons. I scored one yesterday at Reitmans. Head to your local Reitmans to get your own.

I’m not done yet. I will keep making changes, and I want to lose more weight. For instance, with my newfound love for smoothies, I’ve unintentionally cut my bread intake in half, probably more. It’s another change that I unintentionally made by deciding to eat more of something else. My goal is to lose 29 more pounds by next August. (It was 30, but I’ve lost another pound since setting my goal and making a plan to achieve it). If I don’t lose as much as I want? I’ve already surpassed my expectations with where I’m at now. I’ll be satisfied with wherever I end up. The point is making my body healthy, not looking like a model. 

Anyone want to join me on my journey? Do you have a weightloss/get healthy story you’d like to share?

Picture This! Design Team Call

Calling all scrapbookers! 

Interested in stretching your creative muscles? Do you love inspiring people through your artwork? Why not join a scrapbooking design team?! All the details you need to apply and potentially join cam be found at Picture This! Challenges. The link to their blog will take you directly to their design team call! 

Good luck!

By the way…I just submitted my application. What’s holding you back?

About Snail Mail…

Good morning dear friends! 

If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I’m an avid crafter, and in my crafty journey, I’ve begun exploring hobbies such as snail mail and planners. I’ll soon be adding a cooking and baking segment to my blog. (Yes!! Keep an eye out for it! I’m just getting my poop in a group, first!)

But, have you ever wondered what inspired me to explore these hobbies- especially snail mail? (I’m going to throw you for a loop today, and share with you more snail mail goodness.) Say whaat?!

I am an active member of an online community called Scrapbook.com. If you’re obsessed with scrapbooking (like I am), you may have heard of it. They have an  amazing online store- the best I’ve come across yet- though Scrapbook Generation and Paper Issues are a close second.  

In addition, their online community is thriving and full of activity, from swaps and challenges to galleries for displaying your handiwork. It’s a part of this community that I regularly (try) to participate in. (With the kids out of school for the summer, it’s much harder to stay regularly active). 

A couple months ago, I was invited by another Scrapbook.com member to participate in a swap- my first ever- and after thinking on it for a bit, obliged. The swap was creating and mailing a Pocket Letter. Happily, the girl that invited me to play along also became my partner!

She loves chickens, so I created a PL that was both cluck worthy and farm worthy. (I discovered quickly that I didn’t have many chicken embellishments or stickers, so tried valiantly finding proper icons to decorate her PL using my cricut. I think I did rather well- its not a total flop!

I learned three things through this exercise- the last which will explain why I started smailing. First, not using the proper page protector is highly frowned upon, and honestly it put me off. I don’t really understand what the big deal is. 

Secondly, I really like the premise behind it. Combining swapping goodies and including a letter along with it- and making it creative and pretty is a fabulous idea. It makes me wonder why it took so long for someone to dream this idea up. Thank goodness someone did!

Lastly, and most importantly, I learned that this is something I could easily become obsessed with. Forget the PL, writing letters and making them creative and pretty on my own terms was something I could (and would) willingly and wholeheartedly support! Thank the Lord I also discovered mail folders and flip books because of it! I can certainly make those, and there’s no right or wrong way to create them!

(Side note- I have yet to make a flip book. I am researching them, though!)

I feel as though I’ve covered this topic before, so I hope this isn’t redundant. I believe it’s important to revisit topics occasionally- especially if you missed my previous post (if there is one) on this subject. Call it a refresher, if you will. 

Reviving snail mail and finding like minded pen pals was borne out of an attempt at pocket letters. Unfortunately, pocket letters failed miserably, but pen palling is happily and wildly successful. I wait long periods between letters, but I’m incredibly grateful for this extra creative outlet. 

What inspired you to snail mail and pen pal? How did you come to find this wonderful hobby? Let me know below in the comments!

A Thousand Wishes

Good morning! It’s a quiet house today- my kids are away for the weekend, visiting with their grandparents. I can breathe! 

Happy 149th birthday, Canada!

I created this double page layout for another challenge over at Scrapbook Generation last month (or slightly longer ago, now); I’ve actually got another layout on the go that’s using this same exact sketch. It’s sitting on my desk as I type this. It’ll likely be another month (sorry!) before you get to see it, though. Oddly enough, there are some parallels between this one and the one on my desk. And, it’s not the paper. Lol! The one on my desk is about airplanes, and in this one, my kids and husband are running around just like airplanes. 

The challenge, when I created this spread, was to complete a layout using this sketch. Isn’t it lovely? I had fun with the patterned paper mats in the background. I used CTMH Happy Times almost exclusively here, with the exception of a couple different CTMH stamps and my cricut for some die cutting. I may have snuck some CTMH Taste of Summer in there, too. 

Thanks for joining me today. I hope this spread- or the sketch- inspires you to create today!

Blip!

Hi everyone! I’m dropping by really quick with a layout I JUST finished. I’m posting it only because I wanted to link it up to Laura Whitakers’ Stuck?! Sketches linky party. I’ll explain more about it in the next few weeks!

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Western and Beach Theme Cards

Hello everyone! It’s a blustery day in my neck of the woods today. Yuck. I woke up around midnight last night from the wind, and it’s still blowing now. The sun is trying to shine in between all the clouds filling the sky. Hopefully tomorrow will be a more sunshiney day than today is.

I have a couple custom cards I whipped up yesterday to show you, and later this week, I’ll return to sharing all the great stuff I’ve been trying to post over the last month or so. Slow and steady wins the race.

If you missed it, I accept special requests for cards and custom scrapbook albums- all at a reasonable price. You can read more about it here.

The person that requested these cards is a returning customer- I made Princess and the Frog themed wedding invitations for her. While I’m pleased she’s asking for more cards, I’m also pleasantly surprised. I made the wedding invitations over a year ago!

No matter. I’m pleased she remembered me and asked for more hand made cards. The two cards I made have very specific themes- one is western themed and the other is beachy. 

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To create the western card, I first turned to Pinterest. I needed some ideas- which, there was lots! I came across horse shoes, horses,  stars, cacti…I really liked the cacti, but I have nothing of the sort in my stash, so settled on a unicorn turned horse.

(I plan to remedy the cacti problem. CTMH carries adorable stamps and coordinating dies that work with most non electronic die cutting machines!) View them here.

I had burlap left over from a banner I had made for a dear friends’ wedding, so trimmed the pennants off and layered it on top of the card base. My liquid glass (CTMH) worked well to adhere it.

Next, I adhered black lace to white cardstock (to help it pop against the kraft background better)- once again using my liquid glass. I thought burlap and lace worked well for a western theme.

To finish, I inked the edges of the image mat and card base using CTMH Barn Red and Cocoa inks, and added a bow beneath the image.

(The inside of the card has Best Wishes stamped on it).

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I also searched for beachy card ideas on Pinterest too. I immediately thought of using CTMH Seaside, but I don’t have the entire collection. Then I remembered that I’ve had a SU nautical stamp set in my stash for quite a few years. That would work!

I stamped the background using CTMH Whisper, Flaxen and Juniper inks, then layered the anchor on top, using CTMH Basic Black ink.

I used long retired CTMH sticker alpha stickers for the title, and the button and twine have been lurking in the depths of my stash for quite a while.

(I want to make the beachy/nautical card again- but smaller). Stay tuned for it sometime in the future!)

Holla at me if there’s a special or unique card you’d like made. If not, how do western and beach themes inspire you? I’d love to see! Share what you make when you’re done!

Music Lover

Happy hump day!

It isn’t often I scrapbook anything about myself. It’s equally as important as scrapbooking my kids and family. My kids and grandkids should know who I am, too!

When I saw SG’s challenge to create a layout recording 17 of your favorite _______ (blank), I knew songs would be a great option.

(I love a heckuva lot more songs than just the 17 I chose, but it’s a good starting place).  😃

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I absolutely LOVED this layout concept.

You know why?

I used up some (of a myriad) letter stickers in my stash to create the numbers and song titles on my layout. For variety, I also wrote by hand some of the titles, too.

I also used up more (of my ever-expanding) stash of paper scraps to create the grid. There’s a mix of CTMH, SU, MME and Carta Bella. 

How does this layout inspire you? I challenge you to create a layout about your favorites- music, food, quotes, travel destinations…I’d love to see how you are inspired!

I’ll be back again real soon! Thanks for visiting!

CTMH Blossom Enjoy Life

Hello dear friends. I’m dropping in quickly to share another project with you. I’m home for part of today, then I’ll be on the road again. Life should return to normal for a couple days, then I’ll be on the move again- this time to pick up my kids.

Who I miss already! It’s been only two days! Thank goodness they’re only gone for a few days. I might go crazy if it was any longer.

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I began this layout by spraying HS mists in the background and layered the patterned paper on top once it was dry. I cut the pennants using scrap CTMH papers- the photo mats are also CTMH (Blossom).

The title was cut using my cricut and layered over miscellaneous washi tape from my stash.

Please join me again soon for more layout inspiration.

SG Challenge Layout

Phew! Another week begins today! Are you ready?

I’ll be away again either late tomorrow or early Tuesday for the night. My Oma’s funeral is Tuesday. I’ll catch you again soon after that!

I wanted to share another layout with you today. Again, it’s a double page spread, which was inspired by a sketch over st Scrapbook Generation. It was a challenge in their St. Patricks Day crop a few weeks ago.

Here’s how it inspired me:

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I used a mixture of scraps from my scrap box and journaling cards from miscellaneous paper kits from MME.

The floral background was cut with my cricut and the background was created using HS mists.

Thanks for dropping by and spending time with me! I’ll be back again real soon! 

CTMH Fast & Furious

Hello dear friends! We are officially on spring break! Woop! I have kiddos laundry to finish and packing to get started- we hit the road Friday and will be back sometime Saturday. 

We’ll be back in Edmonton on Tuesday for Oma’s funeral. It’s going to be a busy weekend and start to the week!

I’m back again today with another layout. This layout was created as part of a challenge at scrapbook generation awhile back. The challenge was to create a layout using red and tan (colors).

As always, I began with a sketch for inspiration. My inspiration came from none other than the talented Laura Whitaker.

Here’s my take of her sketch:

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I began with a 6×6 Heidi Swapp hexagon stencil and some mists. I layered red, gold and brown washi tape  across the page, then layered red and beige patterned paper on top of that. My photo (4×4 inches) will be layered atop the chocolate patterned paper.

For the stamped portions of my layout, I used CTMH Fast and Furious; some of the washi is also CTMH.

I hope you enjoyed today’s layout! I’ll be back again soon with a special custom card that I whipped up yesterday for our friends’ figure skating showcase today.

See you again real soon!