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Thursday, May 31, 2007

It's Thursday...what are you up to?

Here it is, Thursday not quite to Friday yet and the weekend is rapidly approaching. I'm down to the final stretch and I've got to get at least 2 of these albums finished up today. Last night I got a wee bit creative (I make myself laugh) with the labeling of some photo's on a layout...I used my P-Touch label maker- is that not a hoot or what? Tell me what you think okay, I'm still laughing at the thought of doing that last night. I just didn't want to use my own chicken scratch writing or to get on the computer (not to mention that my DH was working on the family computer last night- that's the one I use too). So my P-Touch came to my rescue!






Since it's a rainy and dreary looking day I've vowed to stay here on my computer until I finish this darn journaling! The thing that has been holding me back is that I am so darn anal about having the names to go with the faces. But today is the day that I finish the albums regardless of having the names. I've asked and asked and no one seems to know who some of these people are...could very well have been guests of members or they were one time visitors. Now if only I could match up the pink patterned paper and pink cardstock, LOL!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Is this a trend or what???

Okay so I just wrote about a Scrapbook store in Ohio closing it's doors after 5 years of business well get this...I JUST got this e-mail from a LSS in Rapid City (we have 3). I'm floored with this news!


Well by now you have probably heard the rumor. Yes, its true. Scrapbook Etc. in Rapid City will close its doors at 7:00 p.m. on June 26, 2007. We have everything in-stock on sale. The percent off is posted on a sign in the front window and it can change daily.
Thank you very much for your business the last five years.
We will be setting up a web site for the DieCutting business and as soon as it's done we will be sending an e-mail to let you know the address.

Thanks, Lana, Maribeth & Lorena

Scrapbook Etc. The Knothole
710 N. LaCrosse St. #1 714 N. Main St.
Rapid City, SD 57701 Spearfish, SD 57783
605-341-1225 605-642-4541

Support your LSS

As I was reading over at the 2 peas message board I came across a topic that I found disturbing…it was about yet another scrapbooking Ma and Pa owned store that's closing its doors. This one is Crop-Paper-Scissor in the Akron/Medina area of Ohio. It's a real shame too since this store had been in business for 5 years. I took this from the 2 pea’s web site and here’s a link here to that thread.

http://twopeasinabucket.kaboose.com/mb.asp?cmd=display&thread_id=2257131

So with that article stuck in my head I went to my LSS (local scrapbooking store) and made a purchase today. I let the store manager know that I appreciate them being in business, having the kinds of products and workshops that they do. I also told the manager of this article and I suggested that she read it. For me it really hit home. I could have bought those Cricut cutting mats over at Hobby Lobby but I didn’t, I bought them from a local retailer, they’re the same price at either place so why not shop the little guy? And here’s something…those cutting mats were 20% off at my LSS this week! Ü


Why are so many Local Independent Scrapbook Stores going out of business?

When we opened our store 5 years ago, the scrapbooking industry was at an all-time high, independent retail stores were quickly multiplying and making great progress. When we opened our store we studied the demographics of the Medina County area as well as the surrounding counties. We produced a solid business plan and believed that the demographics were a perfect match for this type of retail business. We thought we’d have plenty of local as well as traveling customers to support our business. Times were good and we thought we could survive after the first 2 years, but then the bottom fell out, the industry changed and our scrapbookers began to dwindle. Where did they go?

Here’s the sad but real truth:

We’re living an industry nightmare. Scrapbook stores are closing across the nation. And unlike the store closings of the past, many of the stores closing today were well established with excellent reputations for customer service and product selection. These closures of established stores mean trouble for the industry as a whole. Stores are closing faster than stores are opening. Ultimately, this will lead to a manufacturing crunch (if it hasn’t already), and the closure of various manufacturing companies as well.

Today, the scrapbook industry has moved full swing from the early to mid-90’s, when there were virtually no scrapbook choices – to having way too many choices. And too many choices is creating a huge problem. Consumers do want choices. However, offering such a wealth of choices is a double-edged sword. More choices cause more demand for more choices. Eventually the expectations for product is so high that the customer refuses to buy what is available. They become extremely picky – and this lowers sales. It used to be that consumers were relatively content scrapbooking with just some cardstock and stickers. They did the best they could with what they could find. They were more tolerant of low product selection – and didn’t complain nearly as much.

Enter the modern scrapbook world. Product is released each week. Stores struggle with moving slow sellers, while people clamor for new or different themed papers to satisfy their thirst. But, once they’ve used "that" breakfast paper with the bacon & eggs, they want a "different" paper with pancakes and sausage. When we get paper in with pancakes and sausage, the customer exclaims "Oh, but these are sausage links, I want sausage patties!" Customers can afford to be "picky" because there is so much selection. And, what they can’t find locally they hit the Internet for gratification.

It’s hard to go back; but with the store closures and manufacturers sure to follow, the industry is bound to contract. It’s pretty much an inevitable conclusion. The question often pondered is, "Why?" Why are all of the scrapbook stores closing? Many people offer various reasons. No business sense, poor customer service, poor product selection. Too much product, not enough product. The answer is a bit more simple, and we can sum it up in two words, NOT PROFITABLE. There are all kinds of reasons stores may become un-profitable, and no store is immune. We could go further into Gross Profit Margin details and such, but we will save you from those business management details.

Retailers are blasted on a daily basis from the end user coming in and saying "What do you have that's new?" Consequently, when retailers talk to the manufacturer, their first question is "What do you have that's new?" The retailer feels pressured to answer to the end user, and the manufacturer feels compelled to respond to the retailer. Keeping in mind that the vast majority of this industry is made up of independent retailers and independent manufacturers, it's a tough situation. As you well know, product development is expensive and if you don't call it right, you're going to be sitting there with a huge amount of money invested in a product that didn't sell. And unless it's a real "hot" product, it has a life span that extends from CHA Winter tradeshow arrivals in May to the CHA Summer tradeshow in July, and then everyone is on to the next new thing. It's an absolute killer for both manufacturers and retailers. In fact most consumers would be shocked to hear that if a store cannot turn it’s inventory every 3 months (that means sell it all!) then you start taking a loss on what is considered old product. Trends change quickly; scrapbooking is one of the fastest changing industries ever seen.

These days the chain stores are all into private labels, so they're taking products, normally produced and sold by the smaller manufacturers, and having them made offshore. Since each chain has its own ready-made market, they can afford to buy the huge quantities required by the offshore manufacturers, knowing they have guaranteed placement. We also have Target and Wal-Mart making major moves into the scrapbooking arena too. We’re sure you’ve already spotted and told your friends about some great scrapbooking finds in the $1 Spot.

We've been saying for the last couple of years if we, the mid-level independent operators, don't do something to save ourselves, the industry is going to end up with three or four major manufacturers and three or four major retailers. There will always be a constant supply of start ups, though. Businesses that begin in the garage, build up to a mid-level retailer, only to discover they can't survive at that level. They don't have the unlimited funds to support constant new product for the footage they expanded to, nor support the employees they have hired as they grew.

We wish we had the answers. It hurts us to see our store and others close. We’re not the types to give up easily. These are all talented people who have put their hearts and souls, not to mention their kids' college money, into their businesses, only to walk away from them after 5 or 10 years, a lot poorer for the experience. For independent retailers, it's the chain stores (Archiver's, ReCollections), as well as the other large retailers who are adding more space to scrapbook supplies (Target, Jo-Ann's, Wal-Mart, etc.) and pulling the consumers into their stores to absorb a large piece of the pie that is needed to survive. I wish I had counted the times I heard someone say “I’ll have to go to XYZ and use my 40% off coupon on that item”. When Jo-Ann’s, Michaels & Hobby Lobby can afford to discount their merchandise 40% due to the “big box” discounts that they receive when making large purchases from manufacturers. They also purchase cheaper quality merchandise in most cases. We do not receive any discounts on our wholesale prices and when we are forced to discount items we do not make any profit to pay the bills.

With the over abundance of products out there, many retailers are having a tough time keeping up. With the fairly limited budget that many scrapbook retailers have, as well as fairly limited space, they can't possibly stock everything that's available, so they need to decide in what products to invest. Inevitably, customers will come in and ask for products that they saw in the latest scrapbook magazines, products that the retailer does not carry. In many cases, the customer simply seeks another venue to obtain the product.

If we take a look around this area, we have seen several stores come and go over the past 5 to 10 years and stores across this region will continue to close, guaranteed. Many factors come into play, such as:

1. Competition and lack of consumer loyalty. Many storeowners go into business thinking “but my store will be different/better”. Doesn't matter. If customers have the choice, many will shop around and not buy all their supplies at one certain store (no matter how great the customer service is, unfortunately). Competition comes in the form of other local independent stores, craft chain stores, discount department stores, and online retailers. The existence of Archiver’s and Michaels-owned ReCollections, who have said they plan on opening 200-300 or more locations in the future, has many independent retailers worried. And they should be. Again, consumers will probably continue to shop at their favorite store when the chain comes into town, but unless they are diehard loyal customers, they’ll probably shop the chain too. This again divides the scrapbooking pie.

2. Too much product. As I said earlier, there's so much product now available, many smaller retailers simply can't purchase it all. And because the trends change so quickly, the products they do purchase sometimes end up sitting on the shelf when the trend is over. Both of these industry factors provide the basis for an UNPROFITABLE store.

Sadly, we would be very wary of advising anyone to open an independent scrapbook store unless they had buckets-full of money, and even then, only if you wish to loose it and go further into debt. The bottom line is, if this were a profitable business (in the least), we would not be closing our doors today.

With much sadness, we thank you all and we will miss you – Keep Leaving Your Legacy! Lori & Shelly

In remembrance of the Crop-Paper-Scissors dream, we leave you with the poems that many of you have read in our store:

Life is a Picture
I took a little time today,

To reminisce of yesterday.

To review, my life in the past,

Recorded here in photographs.

My scrapbook, such a treasure!

So great, I cannot measure . . .

Before my eyes, those memories are golden,

As, before me, my life unfolded.

Then as I paged through, year-by-year,

Sometimes, I’d shed a little tear.

So many faces, I have known,

Some passed away, and others grown.

Sometimes, its hard to realize,

When all spread out, before my eyes.

With all the pictures that I took,

My whole life’s in this little book.

The Gift of Memories
I have given many gifts

And I suspect I will give many more

Before my life is through.

Some will be unusual,

But they are not unique.

There is only one gift in the entire

World that can be given by me

Alone and is truly unique.

That is the gift of my memories

Captured and preserved

And passed on to the people I love.

organizing my patterned paper

This is an expansion of my post from yesterday...
Over the years I have organized my paper and cardstock in a few different ways. Okay so when I started out I didn't have quite the amount of paper that I do now. But the simplicity of how I arranged my paper when I first started scrapbooking has come full circle. Since I didn't own a great deal of paper I arranged it by theme (Christmas, plaid, baby etc) and the cardstock was my old favorite...ROY G BIV -the colors of the rainbow. Now since then I've arranged my patterned paper in different ways, one of the over throw back I've returned to off and on is my manufacturer. But there were so many little folders with so many names... Arctic Frog, Doodlebug, K& Co., Around the Block, Wild Asparagus and so many more. It got to be too darn frustrating to have to hunt through all of those different folders to find something suitable for a particular layout. So after a few weeks of my papers being arranged in that manner it was not working out for me as well as I had wished it would have. So I separated it all out and had gone to my old way of organizing...my folders are thus;

Plaid

Stripe

Harlequin

Dots & Circles

Geometric shapes (shapes other than circles)

Flowers (I have 2 folders for floral papers Ü)

Kids-boy/girl

Pets

Sports

Military

Red, white and blue/Americana

Halloween

Autumn/Thanksgiving

Stars (who knew I had so many sheets of various star patterned paper that they warranted having their own folder)


There's more but you get the point. Once you start looking at your paper in this manner you start to go through it looking at it and asking yourself- do I really need 10 sheets of this particular paper? Unless you're making greeting cards by the dozens or scrapbooking for others the answer "No". Being organized is an essential to knowing what you have on hand and it saves you valuable time and money. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've had friends tell me that they bought a particular patterned paper only to discover a couple of weeks later(when they finally got around to putting it away) that they had purchased it before, some times they bought it 3 different times. All I can say is "Wow, what a waste of time and money". Most scrapbooking stores have either a final sale policy or a no return policy on paper and idea books- look for signage on the wall behind the cashier or ask what the return policy is before you buy.


What's my point with all of this? Knowing what you have saves you time and money. The best way to know what you have is to keep it organized. Click on the photo to see an enlarged view.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Organizing Tips

One of my best organizing tips is ...As soon as you bring it home from your LSS (local scrapbooking store) is to put it away!

Another sound piece of advice is... A place for everything and everything in it's place. It's so much easier to find what you're looking for when you have a "spot" for it and putting it back in it's "spot" after your done using it.

more tips...

Put like things together...I have a drawer that's just for chipboard, everything chipboard goes into that drawer, letters, shapes whatever, if it's made out of chipboard into the drawer it goes!

Labels- I love to use my P-touch label maker! Having drawers clearly labels as to what you have in them is another way to stay on top of being organized. Knowing where your items go helps to take the guess work out of finding them and putting them away. It also helps your family members know where to put things back when they are done using them as well Ü.

ROY G BIV... organizing items in large clear acrylic jars in the colors of the rainbow is another way to organize especially if you don't mind having things like ribbon, buttons eyelets and what not all together and grouped by color. I've seen this done and it's actually quite cute. I'm a little to anal about how I organize things so it was a rather short lived way for me to store my scrapbooking goodies. But just because it didn't work for me doesn't mean that it wouldn't work for you. You can get those jars just about anywhere...Ikea, The Container Store, Wal-Mart, Target etc.

My most sound piece of advice is the first one...after you bring it home put it away! Everything in it's place and a place for everything!

Scrapbooking...

How were you first introduced to scrapbooking? I get asked that question quite frequently. The other two frequently asked questions which I think are rather more like a statements are "Oh I bet that you're totally caught up on ALL of your scrapbooking projects" and the other "I bet that all of your scrapbooks look awesome". Well...I'm not caught up on getting my pictures into albums or layouts. Where's the fun in being totally caught up? I did that once, it was June 2000, I remember it well. I'm no where near being caught up with our family photo's from the past 7 years nor do I want to be. The answer other statement "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". NO all of my scrapbooks do not reflect my current scrapbooking style. I consider some of them to be rather hideous, LOL! But considering how long I've been scrapbooking and what products were available to us in the beginning I suppose that they are right there with everyone else's beginner works. My first pages make me cringe and roll my eyes. They are perfect examples of what NOT to do to your pictures, LOL!

Now for the answer to the first question...My friend Amy was the one to introduce me to scrapbook. I loved what she did for her first son (I met her back when she had 1 boy and now she has 3 boys). The funny thing now is that our husbands (Amy's and mine) are stationed at the same base again...and I'm the avid scrapbooker and she hasn't done any scrapbooking in a couple of years. But you know what, the pictures are going to be there waiting for her when she's ready to get back into the groove. I love that about scrapbooking!

What a storm!

Last nights storm reminded me of the kinds of storms we would have while living in Texas. The wind came from out of nowhere and the rain was blinding! The wind must have been over 70 mph. Things were flying past our house with incredible speed. Then came the hail along with the high winds, lets just say that most of my flowering potted plants are toast! Beat to smithereens! The strange things is that most of my herbs survived with exception of the Basil, it looks pretty beat up. I can tell that I'm going to have to baby it for a while.

Everywhere I look, there's standing water. It was pretty scary last night, even the cat was freaked out. I said a prayer for everyone living in a mobile home. As much as it was scary to be in our house with weather like that I can only imagine how frightening that storm must have been to families living in a mobile home.

I love my Cricut!



I love that little bug of mine! Here are a couple of cards (same design just with different accent strips) that I've made using my Cricut and later on I'll post some pictures of layouts I've made...again using the Cricut.
Last night I needed to make a title for a layout...okay so it was for 5 layouts but they were all the same (yes, it was for the OSC scrapbooks). Oh my gosh I love the Tear Drop font! It was perfect for what I was doing and WOW talk about going much faster than cutting all of those letters with my Sizzix or QuicKutz. I only say that because I had 5 of the same titles to cut out. If I had to crank out 5 large titles with either the Sizzix or the QuicKutz (which by the way I have done in the past) it would have taken me close to an hour, this took me less than 5 minutes! Oh yeah, I love my Cricut!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Integrity

Integrity

It cannot be bought and it cannot be measured in money. It is a prerequisite in determining the fiber and character of an individual and an organization. Integrity demands that there be no twilight zone-something is either right or it is wrong; black or it is white. Principles may be inborn ethics or, sometimes, mandated. But integrity requires scourging moral courage, magnetized by a fervor for an ideal. The complete person is a union of unswerving integrity, pulsating energy, and rugged determination-and the greatest of these is integrity. One individual with integrity is a majority.

 

To reflect integrity is to invite trust. To possess integrity is to command respect. Integrity is found in simple issues and those that are complex. Its presence is critical. It demands total loyalty, a commitment to cause, a dedication to mission, an unflagging determination. Morals, ethics, standards, and integrity-from these flow a torrent of values, deeds, not words. It is clear that what you do and not what you are speak with deafening impact, not what you say you are. Honesty isn’t the best policy. It is the only policy: for an individual and an organization, integrity isn’t a sometimes thing. It is everything.

                                                          ~R. Armstrong

 

 

 

a picture of Me


Work is a 4 letter word!

I'm taking the day off from serious work and am spending it just having fun in my scrapbook nook. My wonderful and loving husband took the kids to "The Ranch" a place that I've always referred to as "the farm". The kids can drive go carts, climb rock wall and tons of other activities.

So here I am tinkering away. I plan on taking more pictures of my scrapbook nook as I get things more organized in there. I've also got to finish the journaling on the OSC scrapbooks. Journaling is such a tedious thing, especially when you have to do it for so many different layouts. The good point is that I did each album the exact same way, so formatting and writing it all once and printing it out 5 times. I best be getting on with the project and stop dragging it out!

Ribbon Storage


One of my biggest challenges was to get the best possible use of space in my new scrapbook nook. Being twice as large as my last scrapbook nook it would be easy to just spread out, but I wanted to be just as organized in this new space as I was in the old space.


Ribbon storage was something that I had to reinvent - since the last nook had an over hang it was easy to use it with those butterfly and flower hooks. But this space is different. As much as I love having windows I am finding them a challenge to work around, only because I can see using the area where the window is to hang something on the wall, LOL! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE being able to see outside Ü.
The funny thing here is that we seriously over estimated how long to have the chains cut for hanging the dowels with all of the spools of ribbon. Other than that I adore this new hanging ribbon holder! My husband thought of this all by himself too! It's much like a pot rack without the pot rack cost. This whole set up minus the dowels and ribbon spools was right around $30 and it adds even MORE storage space! What is not to like? Ü That's a chrome shelf, chain (lots of chain), hooks and those large eyes to hang the rack on from the ceiling. Bought it all at Lowe's. Cost of a pot rack that size...close to $200. So for you scrapbookers out there who wonder if my husband is supportive of my scrapbooking and card making habit the answer is a whopping YES, my husband is very supportive of my hobby!

My Work Space

I've been rather reluctant about posting pictures of my new and improved scrapbook nook only because it's been well- um, rather untidy since moving in.
Here you see my husbands latest invention for hanging my ribbon. I don't have that groovy over hang in this room as I did in the last scrapbook nook (which by the way was a nook). I'll go through the room and take close up shots and describe the different areas of the room, what's housed there and so forth.

Scrapbook Group


Here we are, the regular meeting members of the EOSC Scrapbook Group. WE get together every month and scrapbook for hours...okay so sometimes we chat more than we scrapbook but we always have a good time! From left to right...me, Georgia, Kim and Kristine.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Cars...

What is it with men and cars? I mean really? Our son is now driving and we went out looking for a used car for him yesterday. Something that a teenager could drive and not worry about if it got a dent or two in the parking lot at school. So we came home with Andrew's new wheels. Needless to day, he was thrilled when he saw that car parked on the street in front of our house. Does it need a little work? Of course it does! Last night Lucien and Andrew cleaned and vacuumed plus changed the oil on what I now call the "boy mobile". They will go to junk yards to get other bits and pieces for this car...a manly bonding experience if there ever was one Ü.



Of course my dear husband has been wanting to trade in his VW Passat for a while now. Ever since he found out how much it would be to fix if the engine ever went out on this sporty 4 door sedan ($15,000). I went to test drive a Subaru with him yesterday, it was smooth sailing! I loved the way it handled turns and came to a quick stop. I had a feeling that he was going to trade the VW in for the Subaru, I just didn't realize that it was going to be yesterday afternoon, LOL! So now we've 2 different cars parked in our drive way, the neighbors wont know who's coming and going around here, LOL!

Going Home

I bought airline tickets to go home and visit my parents. Actually I bought 2 tickets, Hannah is going with me on this trip. So where will my son and husband be at this time? Andrew will be at leadership school in Louisiana and my husband will be here working and taking care of the cat and house plants. I haven't been home in 2 years and I feel rather badly about that. But what can I say, I've been rather busy.

I'll be gone June 18th through the 30th. I'm bringing the laptop and have my list of wi-fi hot spots. Having parents that are getting up there in years is not easy to deal with. Most of the relatives are either in denial about my Dad's condition or they think that he's going to make some sort of miraculous recovery. I find these people to be ignorant of his true condition...the man has advanced Parkinson's AND Alzheimer's, he will never "get better". I'm a realist and prefer to deal with the issues at hand and not hide my head like and Ostrich in the sand. My Dad remembers me, be it at different stages in my life and I'm fine with that. One thing I do to keep him remembering me is to write him each and every week. I make him a different greeting card for every letter...I don't think that I've made and sent the same one twice.

I've always been there for my Mom and always will be My mother is a very strong person and has been through a great deal in her lifetime. I have a high regard and respect for her. And as Abraham Lincoln once said "All I am and hope to be I owe to my Mother". I owe a lot to my mother...without her I would not be the person that I am today.

2 peas blog challenge- what have I splurged on lately

Hello!!!! Well that's easy enough to say...the Cricut machine and enough of the font and shape cartridges to keep me busy for quite a while Ü

Ever since since the using Cricut last summer while at CKU-Masters in Boston, I've been on the fence about getting one. I loved the ease of using it plus the fact that I don't have to plug the thing into a computer in order to get it to work. What was holding me back? Um- the price, what else, LOL! I bought mine last week at ShopKo (similar in scope to a K-Mart or Wal-mart) for and unbelievably low price. I've been doing the happy dance ever since! Then last nights spending spree at www.creativexpress.com well I'm VERY pleased with the prices I paid last night. I recently bought the "stamped font" at our local wal-mart for $56 being much cheaper than Hobby Lobby's price of $69.95. But my purchase will be going back because I just got that same font set for an amazing $25...no joke!

I had thought that I wanted to get the Craft-Robo, but lets face it I don't want to have to be tied to my computer all of the time. And personally speaking if I had one more thing hooked up to my computer I think that it would roll over and play dead! Our main computer (the one that I use for my scrapbooking stuff) is located in our guest room. Imagine the look on my m-i-l's or any other guests face when I'm up at 4 or 5 am wanting to work on a title or a greeting card using the robo...just another reason to have a toy located in my scrapbook nook.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Enabler Alert!!!!

With girlfriends like mine (and I'm talking about YOU Susan and Kim Ü) trust me when I say this...these two women can spot a deal and they can get me to spend money like it's falling out of the sky!
Okay so it was Lori from OSC who told Kim and I last week about the Cricut being on clearance over at Shop-ko...along with the cartridges! HELLO!!!! I was there first thing in the am the very next day! And today it's Kim telling me about www.creativexpress.com having an awesome and I do mean AWESOME sale on Cricut cartridges. Oh my gosh I spent money again! I can't believe it, I got cartridges for as little at $25 EACH! I'm set on things for my Cricut, well with the exception of the cutting pads and refill blades but I think that I can wait for them to be on sale at Hobby Lobby. This is soooooooooooo awesome! I can hardly wait to play with the new stuff that I've got coming Ü

Thanks Kim for hooking me up with this awesome sale!

a 2 peas blog challenge- what being generous means to me...

Being generous does not always have to have a dollar sign attached to it. For me, being generous means something quite different...In this day and age where we are all so super busy with raising our children or working, I find that giving of ones time to be something very rare and precious. In that giving it "our time" is the most precious and generous gift we can give to a worthy cause.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

a box of Happiness arrived this afternoon!

Nothing makes my day brighter than a nice ole box filled with happiness! My dear friend Susan has sent me a box filled with goodies from Germany! I cried tears of joy when I saw the Mother/Daughter china tea cups...they are BEAUTIFUL! I can already tell that the Polish Pottery platter is going to be one of my favorite serving pieces. The funniest thing and I do mean FUNNY is the Elephant Dung notebook, I was having a drink of water when I was reading the back of the book...I have to let you all know that I spewed water, yes it was that funny! And it is truly made from elephant dung- no joke! Another treasure are the rosaries, one is hand carved and the other I came from the Vatican in Rome. My kids have tried (note the word "tried") to lay claim to the German chocolate bars...HA! They are mind back off kids! Too bad they can't read German, they have no idea what is really in them besides the weird stuff that I told them that they were filled with, heh heh heh. There's more stuff in the box but I wont bore you all with the details Ü ...Christmas ornaments, book of quotes (my best bud certainly knows how I adore that kind of stuff). And those cute collectors spoons for my spoon cabinet (oh big grins going on here).

Susan- if you are reading this I want to let you know that you have made my day! Heck I think that you've made my entire week!

...now to get back to putting the groceries away. I have meals planned out for the next few days. Lets just say that I'll be out on the deck grilling meat for the next 4 days. I've got 2 meals marinating right now with a 3rd to soon be doing the same thing but in yet a different marinade Ü You can tell when I'm happy because I cook cook cook!


I'm feeling rather creative today

I'm up, dressed and being creative! I feel so much better today than I did yesterday. That migraine headache I had is gone! The husband and kids are off to their respective places of work and I've already been busy making things in my Scrapbook Nook, one of the first things I did this morning was to create a couple of "Welcome" cards for our new neighbors. Now with welcoming our new neighbors in mind...I've got to make some more brownies, apparently the other batch had been mysteriously nibbled upon. Hmmmm, I wonder how that happened?

With many scrapbook layouts to create for the OSC scrapbooks and more photo's to download from my camera I better get to work! I've got pictures to print and journaling to create!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

dealing with obnoxious people

There are times in our lives when we all have to deal with bullies- just because you're an adult doesn't mean that you don't or won't have issues with bullies. I've gotten to the point where I just say "I'm busy" or I've already got plans". I shut them down and refuse to be around people like that. I have every right to say "no, I don't want to be your friend" and I'm pretty frank on the subject.

I've been to yet another farewell

Well at least we didn't have chicken cordon bleu last night! Actually last nights dinner was the best by far! The horderves were awesome and we had oodles of them! Four of us made the desserts for the function, that was a huge hit with the spouses! The food was great, the company was awesome...great evening all around!

I'm going to miss quite a few of the ladies that are moving this summer. So many of them being excellent role models for military spouses of all ranks and ages.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Scheduling my time

I don't know about you but I'm so bogged down with things that need to get done... be it around home or other projects that I'm committed to getting done. I'm find myself running out of time to get anything done. So I've started to schedule my time (I've been doing this for a while now). I use Microsoft outlook for my calendar and I schedule blocks of time to get certain things done. Sometimes my schedules get off kilter but hey- life happens. Take yesterday...I had to go downtown after the luncheon to purchase a ceiling fan for our bedroom, an unscheduled event which bumped my cheesecake and brownie baking time frame. The brownies didn't get made but the cheesecake did. I can make brownies this morning while hunting down photo's on the computer for a handful of projects.

Now while I'm in this blocked time frame I'm not making phone calls (unless it's scheduled) or answering the phone because it's a major distraction and it'll make me get off track. I get my job done and move on to the next one on my list. Today it's changing out sheets on all of our beds and then of course making the beds and of course washing more clothes, LOL! Now for me to get on with the tasks at hand...my time frame for blogging is quickly coming to a close, LOL!

Things that make me laugh!

Yesterday's luncheon made me laugh...I could not believe that I was having chicken cordon bleu and New York cheesecake yet again. At least this time it was served with rice pilaf and asparagus. It's starting to make me think that the chef at the club can't cook anything but this very dish! And I know that the club did not make the cheesecake, no way, no how. I'm looking forward to being programs director for OSC this fall and the menu will not have Chicken Cordon Bleu on it!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Another busy week ahead

After 2 luncheons and 3 dinners I'm pooped! But here we go again with this weeks list of events. Where will I be in a couple of hours? You got it, I kick the week off with a farewell luncheon. I like going out for lunch, it going out to dinner at the same place eating basically the same meal (chicken breast sauteed in something with some sort of potato side dish, green beans and New York Cheesecake with raspberry sauce) 3 days in a row that gets rather tiresome. I like all of those things, just not 3 days in a row, LOL! I can only imagine what I'm getting for lunch today.

I got to work in my scrapbook nook all weekend long! I've been making layouts and greeting cards like no one knows! I'll have to put some of my latest creations out for everyone to see. I finished 4 layouts for the OSC Scholarship banquet and learned something new about using Undo. Where I had planned to use it to remove the embellishments I had made for the poster board that was on display at the banquet Thursday evening. Well lets just say that Undo is NOT for removing items that have been heat embossed with enamel, as the Undo makes the enamel blister and then it falls right off leaving you with a HUGE mess! Yup I've never experienced that before then again I never used it on enameled items- go figure, LOL!

Andrew got his drivers license last Thursday and has been chomping at the bit to drive to school. So off he went with Hannah as his passenger...off to school in one of the family cars. He took Hannah over to visit a girlfriend on Sunday afternoon. Hannah was looking for her wallet and Andrew was right there saying "I'll help you find it Hannah". Okay my first instinct was to say "something is wrong with this picture" Andrew wants to help Hannah find something, hmmmm what gives. Sure enough, he was going to drive Hannah to her girlfriends house...her friend lives on base. This was Andrews first time of driving without an adult in the car with him, was I nervous? YES of course I was! But he got Hannah there safely and made it back home. So my babies drove off to school this morning. Wow this is a sign that I'm getting older. Our boy is driving at 14 years old...WOW!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Ellsworth OSC Scholarship Banquet

Our Ellsworth Officers Spouses Club annual Scholarship banquet was a HUGE success! We had 132 people attending the banquet and every single one of the scholarship recipients were in attendance. I feel very proud to be part of an organization that makes such a difference in the local community. Our yearly fund raiser the OSC Charity Auction was a huge success, raising nearly $21,000. Our auction would not have been the huge success it was without the help and support of the local civilian and military communities. Through the auction proceeds we were able to give away $20,800 in scholarships and through the proceeds of our OSC thrift shop donate over $12,000 to local charities. If you're a military spouse reading my blog today please by all means join your local military wives group be it the Enlisted Spouses Club or the Officers Spouses Club; both are wonderful organizations to be a part of!

While reading the letters of thanks and gratitude, my eyes started to well up. One letter in particular made me want to get up and tell everyone to take time to read the notes of thanks for the recipient's (I had our OSC president do that for me). It really goes to show us all that our scholarships DO make a difference in the lives of those who receive them, sometimes they make more of a difference than we can ever imagine.

Last night I presented the 3 scrapbook albums to the honorary president, honorary vice president and the OSC president. It is amazing at how much the appreciated getting this albums. Having something to remember their time spent here with friends, a photo journal of every OSC event is a very nice gift! Now for me to download the pictures from last night and to get working on the layouts.

I shake my head!

Just when you think that you've heard it all, here's a news story that will have you shaking your head! I've got to give my opinion on this one...this man should be sterilized (you know, made so he can never reproduce) and never, ever, ever be allowed to be near children ever again in his life. Here's a link to the story...
http://www.khou.com/topstories/stories/khou070517_jj_microwavebaby.7a6cdced.html

I still can't get it out of my mind, he placed his baby in the microwave and turned it on. I am seriously horrified by the very thought of it!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Saying good bye is never easy...

Yesterday I attended a farewell luncheon for the Operations Group commanders spouse. She's a fantastic woman, mentor and friend. She might not think so but I've seen her as an inspiration. While Virginia Tech was all over the news she kept a pretty calm head on her shoulders, you see...her oldest son attends VT. You might remember the only ROTC student that was killed, well that young man was a good friend to her son. I saw this woman every Sunday at church and she always had a smile on her face. I'm going to miss Debbie more than she knows.

Actually a great many of my friends from Ellsworth are leaving this summer. All going to far off places (no where exotic though). There's Ginny, Christine, Kathy E, Kathy T, Georgia, Sherri, Amy, Cheryl, Debbie, and Elena. Ten friends leaving this summer (so far), I feel a little sad now that I wrote it out so I can see it. No wonder why my dear friend Kristi was crying the other day at church, most of these people live on her street. Well I intend on keeping a positive outlook, I'm thinking about the new friends I'll be making later on in August!

Tonight I'll be presenting the scrapbooking albums to the honorary president, vice president and the current OSC president- eek! Of course I will have to take them back because this evenings pictures won't be in there.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I get by with a little help from my friends

It is so true, I really do get by with help from my friends and today was another one of those days. I've been swamped with things going on here and there and today is no different. As I'm looking at my outlook calendar seeing what I have going on in the coming days and weeks; it's chuck full of farewell lunches and dinners not to mention the retirement ceremonies. This is the way of the summer moving cycle, bringing with it a new season of saying good-byes and of making new friends.

Pollen

*What is pollen?

Plants produce microscopic round or oval pollen grains to

reproduce. In some species, the plant uses the pollen from

its own flowers to fertilize itself.

Other types must be cross-pollinated; that is, in order for

fertilization to take place and seeds to form, pollen must

be transferred from the flower of one plant to that of

another plant of the same species. Insects do this job for

certain flowering plants, while other plants rely on wind

transport.

The types of pollen that most commonly cause allergic re-

actions are produced by the plain-looking plants (trees,

grasses, and weeds) that do not have showy flowers. These

plants manufacture small, light, dry pollen granules that

are custom-made for wind transport.

Samples of ragweed pollen have been collected 400 miles out

at sea and two miles high in the air. Because airborne

pollen is carried for long distances, it does little good

to rid an area of an offending plant--the pollen can drift

in from many miles away. In addition, most allergenic pollen

comes from plants that produce it in huge quantities. A

single ragweed plant can generate a million grains of pollen

a day.

The chemical makeup of pollen is the basic factor that

determines whether it is likely to cause hay fever. For

example, pine tree pollen is produced in large amounts by

a common tree, which would make it a good candidate for

causing allergy. The chemical composition of pine pollen,

however, appears to make it less allergenic than other

types. Because pine pollen is heavy, it tends to fall

straight down and does not scatter. Therefore, it rarely

reaches human noses.

Grasses and trees, too, are important sources of allergenic

pollens. Although more than 1,000 species of grass grow in

North America, only a few produce highly allergenic pollen.

These include timothy grass, Kentucky bluegrass, Johnson

grass, Bermuda grass, redtop grass, orchard grass, and sweet

vernal grass. Trees that produce allergenic pollen include

oak, ash, elm, hickory, pecan, box elder, and mountain cedar.

*When do plants make pollen?

One of the most obvious features of pollen allergy is its

seasonal nature--people experience it symptoms only when

the pollen grains to which they are allergic are in the

air. Each plant has a pollinating period that is more or

less the same from year to year.

Exactly when a plant starts to pollinate seems to depend

on the relative length of night and day--and therefore on

geographical location--rather than on the weather.

On the other hand, weather conditions during pollination

can affect the amount of pollen produced and distributed

in a specific year. Thus, the farther north you go, the

later the pollinating period and the later the allergy

season.

Generally tree, grass, and weed seasons are similar every

year in the same location. However, the intensity can differ

depending on the current weather, the previous year's

weather, and other environmental factors. Typically, trees

pollinate earliest from February to May, grasses follow in

May to mid-July, and weeds peak from late summer to early

fall.

A pollen count, which is familiar to many people from local

weather reports, is a measure of how much pollen is in the

air. This count represents the concentration of all the

pollen (or of one particular type, like ragweed) in the air

in a certain area at a specific time. It is expressed in

grains of pollen per square meter of air collected over 24

hours.

Pollen counts tend to be highest early in the morning on

warm, dry, breezy days and lowest during chilly, wet periods.

Although a pollen count is an approximate and fluctuating

measure, it is useful as a general guide for when it is

advisable to stay indoors and avoid contact with the pollen.

*Why do pollen and mold counts vary so much from day to day?

Changes in temperature, wind conditions, humidity, or precip-

itation can affect the counts greatly.

*Temperature: A sudden temperature drop lowers the pollen

count significantly. Certain pollens are seasonal. Trees are

dominant in the spring, grasses occur in late spring and

early summer, and weeds grow from late summer until the first

hard frost.

*Wind: Pollens are small, light, and dry so they are easily

spread by wind. The distance the pollen travel can depend on

whether the wind is strong or calm that day.

*Humidity: When the air is humid, pollen becomes damp and

heavy with moisture keeping it still and on the ground.

*Precipitation: Rains tend to "cleanse" the air of pollen.

When the pollen is wet, it becomes heavy with moisture

keeping it on the ground.

*During the peak of the pollen or mold season that affects

you, try following these guidelines:

Keep windows closed at night.D

Minimize early morning outdoor activity when most pollen is

released (between 5-10 AM).

Keep your car windows closed when traveling.

Stay indoors when the pollen count is high and on windy days

when dust and pollen are easily scattered.

Vacation during the peak of pollen season to an area where

there is less pollen, like the beach.

Take any medications your allergist recommends as prescribed.

Do not rake leaves, mow lawns, or be around freshly cut

grass. This stirs up pollen and mold.

Do not hang laundry outside to dry. Pollen and mold will

collect in them.

Keep indoor plants to a minimum and never overwater if

allergic to mold. Wet soil encourages mold growth.

POLLEN TRIVIA

One recent study found that children who have fevers (of 101

degrees Fahrenheit) before they reach the age of one tend to

have a lower likelihood of developing allergies by age seven.

 

It's just as bad for our dogs and cats, especially those with

allergies, as it is for humans.

 

  

Crazy about Scrapbooking?

Well once you start having to make 5 identical albums for a year, trust me you won't be so energetic about getting the pages done. Where once upon a time I loved being the OSC Historian, I'm now at the tail end of it and am grumbling more and more about it. A lot of my grumbling has to do with the budget...it's way too squeaky tight for doing four 12x12 albums. Between having to buy 4 albums, picture processing and lets not forget about adhesive...well that doesn't leave much room for the paper, cardstock and the additional page protectors you'll need and I haven't even mentioned buying embellishments. I'm out of adhesive and it's killing me that in order to finish these pages that I have to fork the moola over because I've spent all of my budgeted monies.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Scrapbooking

I'm going to be scrapbooking all day long today! I'm going to have some breakfast and then proceed to my scrapbook nook and work work work! I've got the scrappin vibes in a major way and I'm going to ride that wave! I find that I have my best creative times when I feel like this too Ü

Monday, May 14, 2007

Lets do Brunch

So here I am, almost ready for everyone to come over for the spouses with deployed military members brunch. I've got to shower (like you really needed to know that) and iron a couple of table clothes (changed my mind on the color I was going to use yesterday) and I'm done! To be perfectly honest I could not have even tried to pull this off without the help from my girlfriends. I give much credit to them as being wonderful motivators not to mention all of the wonderful things that they are doing to make this brunch/luncheon a success. I want to thank Kim, Cindy, Kristi, and Sherri for all of their hard work and support. This past week has been crazy for all of us and this week will prove to be just as nuts, LOL!

Now I'm off to get ready...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

It's been a terrific weekend! Yesterday's garage sale went okay, not well just okay. But the weather, IT was fantastic! Garage sales are hard work! Oh my gosh talk about putting my marketing background to work, LOL! How attractive can you make cardboard boxes filled with your unwanted stuff? I mean really? LOL!

Alright here's today's series of weird events...My blow dryer is dead. None of that blown dry hair for Sandie on Mother's Day (or Hannah for that matter). But I did pull out the circulating fan that we used in the base house and sat in front of it until my hair was to a dry enough point though, LOL! I had my husband take my blow dryer apart to see what was the matter with it and everything (he's quite the Mr. Fit It) and he couldn't find the problem. I did manager to buy a new blow dryer after church today Ü

My charming family was cooking lunch and was going to make garlic bread and the new stove started acting up again (yes we've been having some issues with it this past week). I've got 2 gourmet cheesecakes to bake for the Mission Support Group luncheon tomorrow, eeek! I need that own of mine to work!

I was able to surprise a girlfriend of mine today with a small token of my love and appreciation for her. Nothing gets a girl (I use that work "girl" as a general term) weepy like a thoughtful gift on Mother's Day, especially while her husband is away on a deployment. My friend Kristi is having a little bit of a rough time of it right now. I think what's getting to her (besides her husband being far away) is that over half of her friends and neighbors are moving away in the next 4 to 6 weeks and that she sees it as her support team are all leaving her. I'd be upset by this too, but I also have been through the deployment thing a few times more that my girlfriend has. So today was about letting Kristi know that she is loved and that she still has friends nearby that she can call on at any time even though we no longer live on base. I find that you need to reassure your girlfriends that it's okay to cry and it's okay to say "hey I need help", that we're there for them through the thick and the thin.

This will make you laugh...I find that if you hint long enough that you do indeed get the Mother's day gift that you've been wanting. Silly huh? Well after last years shopping on line for Tahitian Pearls fiasco, I decided that I would buy them locally if I could find them. Word to the wise, never and I mean never buy pearls of any kind on line, especially from Overstock.com, they got so sick of me sending them back in for replacement that they refused to work with me any longer (no joke) and instead of getting yet another pair of earrings and a pendant in the mail I got a refund check and a letter telling me that they don't want to work with me any longer. So it's a year later...and I found a jewelery store in Rapid City that had exactly what I wanted...all I have to say is that I LOVE my new necklace and earrings! I kick myself for not getting the Tahitian pearl earrings and pendant when we were in Hawaii 2 years ago, I could have gotten them at the military base at such a reasonable price (okay so what might be reasonable to one person might be another's idea of highway robbery, LOL). Yes if I had anything to regret from our Hawaiian vacation was not getting myself those pearls, LOL!

I need to get out the linen table clothes and ironing them smooth. After that then I'll get to making those cheesecakes Ü I'm hungry for them right now!

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Ellen Show- A Mother's Day Story

I have no idea if this has been around the internet a million times but this is the first time I've read it and it was a royal crack up! For all the Mother's out there about to celebrate Mother's Day...this one's for you! (thanks René for the great laugh, this story reminds me of Andrew when he was 3 years old, sounds like something he would have done).

The Ellen Show was on and she read this submission to a contest from a viewer: So, we had this great 10 year old cat named Jack who just recently died. Jack was a great cat and the kids would carry him around and sit on him and nothing ever bothered him. He used to hang out and nap all day long on this mat in our bathroom. Well, we have 3 kids and at the time of this story they were 4 years old, 3 years old and 1 year old. The middle one is Eli. Eli really loves chapstick. LOVES IT. He kept asking to use my chapstick and then losing it. So finally one day I showed him where in the bathroom I keep my chapstick and how he could use it whenever he wanted to but he needed to put it right back in the drawer when he was done. Last year on Mother's Day, we were having the typical rush around and try to get ready for Church with everyone crying and carrying on. My two boys are fighting over the toy in the cereal box. I am trying to nurse my little one at the same time I am putting on my make-up. Everything is a mess and everyone has long forgotten that this is a wonderful day to honor me and the amazing job that is motherhood. We finally have the older one and the baby loaded in the car and I am looking for Eli. I have searched everywhere and I finally round the corner to go into the bathroom. And there was Eli. He was applying my chapstick very carefully to Jack's . . . rear end. Eli looked right into my eyes and said "chapped." Now if you have a cat, you know that he is right--their little butts do look pretty chapped. And, frankly, Jack didn't seem to mind. And the only question to really ask at that point was whether it was the FIRST time Eli had done that to the cat's behind or the hundredth. And THAT is my favorite Mother's Day moment ever because it reminds us that no matter how hard we try to civilize these glorious little creatures, there will always be that day when you realize they've been using your chapstick on the cat's butt.

Gearing up for our garage sale...

UGH! Garage sales are not for lazy people that's for sure! It's a lot of work getting stuff organized, priced and ready to be sold. Sheesh do we have a lot of stuff that needs to be priced! SO that's what I'm doing today, working at getting the garage sale stuff ready for market tomorrow!

AFROTC

Last nights award ceremony for AFJROTC was great! Seeing the Colonel getting choked up when talking about how proud he is of this group of kids really was something Ü and seeing all of the awards they've earned and hearing about their community service projects and how they made such an impact made one feel very proud about their child and the group as a whole. This AFROTC program at this particular high school has made my son take pride in himself, the corps and most of all his studies. He's an A student, I knew that he always has had that potential, it's him wanting to be the best he can be- and the corps has helped to bring that out in him (I really believe it). He was beaming from ear to ear when his name was read off for the award of"Outstanding Flight", that right there is a major item. Everyone stood up and applauded the group of kids from that flight group. I didn't realize how hard they really had to work at earning that award until the Colonel read off what they did- WOW is all I have to say to that! Our son is also a member of the Kitty Hawk Air Society which is an aerospace honor society- talk about cool! This was a major accomplishment from the boy "who" hated middle school. Not only did he have to maintain a certain grade point average he also had to get his teachers to write letters of recommendation as to why he should be accepted as a member of the honors group, plus he had to write a paper on an assigned subject and go through and interview process all subject to being voted upon- WOW! What a tough process to go through in being accepted. OH and this all had to be accomplished in a set time frame too, sheesh talk about pressure!

When you get to high school things change, all off a sudden the kids are looking for acceptance from their peers. It's finding a group that you feel comfortable with and them accepting you for who you are as a person. High school is tough when you look at it from that angle. I truly do believe that our son has found his place and his people. Seeing all of the young people applauding one another and the pride they took in themselves put tears in the eyes of ALL of the parents. Hearing about their accomplishments made you think about what good people are running this program and how they are having a huge positive impact on our children. Is ROTC for all children? Certainly not, just like Drama, Band, Football and Cheer Leading isn't for everyone. But once your child finds his or her niche, support them and help them to be the best person that they can be!

I'm still smiling about last night and better yet so is our son. It's so refreshing to see teenagers proud of the good that they have done and the positive impact that they have on one another and their community.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

My day...so far

So far today, I've gotten the following things done;

*re-potted 14 plants (and I cleaned up my potting area)

*got 2 bottles of sun tea brewing (oh how we love sun tea around here)

*slow roasted 4 heads of garlic, shed them from their skins and put them in a sealed plastic container for later use.

*cleaned the guest bathroom top to bottom

*cleaned the kitchen, sanitized it and everything!

*vacuumed the entire down stairs carpeted areas

*washed, folded and put away 4 loads of laundry

*made 3 beds (and made them the right way- no sheets hanging out, LOL)

*planned out and starting prepping for dinner for the next 5 days Ü

*called my Mom and talked with her for a while

Now for me to have a glass of iced tea and to relax for a bit before I get started on making my Mothers Day cards. I've got special ladies here locally to give them to Ü




Senator John Thune comes through!

Is it obvious that I have "school issues" today? LOL! Yesterday we won a hollow victory. You see, the school busing contract ran out back in March. We got the contract extended and busing was to go on until the end of the school year (May 25th). Well that left us without school busing for the 2007/2008 school year.

Okay a small group of us got together and put on our thinking caps. Together we drew out a plan, we knew what we needed to get done- the hard part was not having our brain storming session not turn into a complaining session (with only inviting a handful of folks it was accomplished). Senator John Thune came through for us, but lets face it, we only have the funding for the buses on base for 2007/2008, are we going to have to go through this every year? I'd like to see a more permanent solution to this obvious long term problem.











FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kyle Downey (202) 228-5939

May 8, 2007
Jessica Ferguson (202) 224-4238


Andi Fouberg (202) 228-5381






Thune Announces Funding for Ellsworth Busing

-- Air Force Makes $400,000 Available Following Thune’s Request --





WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator John Thune today announced that the Department of Defense has agreed to provide Ellsworth Air Force Base with $400,000 to cover their costs associated with busing students from the base to schools within the Douglas School District.



“This is great news for the students and their concerned parents at Ellsworth Air Force Base,” said Thune. “When first hearing about this funding shortfall, my office reached out to the Pentagon to inform them of the problem and to pledge my support to work together to find a solution. Parents have enough to be anxious about without worrying about how their children will safely travel to and from school.”



###





Kyle Downey

Communications Director

Senator John Thune

202-228-5939 - direct

202-222-5017 - cell

kyle_downey@thune.senate.gov

http://Thune.Senate.gov

Mean Girls

Every morning I watch the girls that come from down the street and wait at the corner in front of my house being destructive. From throwing large rocks (and they are very large) at the sidewalk and newly paved street- to me it looks like the game is about trying to see who can take the biggest chip out of the sidewalk or make the biggest dent in the newly paved street. Then there are the big orange cones put at the entry of the new cul-de-sac to keep truck from driving on it- well they've pretty much mashed those things down by stomping on them. Today they were taking the cones and seeing how far they could throw them...enough was enough, I went out there and yelled at them to stop what they were doing and to put those cones back. That is they continued with their destructive behavior I have no qualms about marching them down to their homes right then and there and making them tell their parents what they were doing every morning while waiting for the school bus. I also let them know that I will let the contractor know and that they most likely will have to pay for replacement cones and anything else that was damaged. I let them know that I was serious and I have no problem in telling their parents what they've been up to every morning. Oh yeah those young ladies pout the cones back, I did have to tell them to do it 3 times...and yes I have every intention of letting their parents know what they've been doing.

Yeah, I fully expect kids to mess around while waiting at the bus stop (they are kids after all) but this is ridiculous! There are two things that I can not and will not tolerate the first is bullying and the second is vandalism. This is going to look really bad especially when I know that the parents to these girls are going to be modified when I tell them what's been going on.

Did you know that when it comes to being Bullies that girls are worse than boys? It's true. I have a girlfriend whose high school aged son has been repeatedly bullied by a young lady that is is a few of his classes. Boys are taught from an early age not to pick on girls, not to hit girls and so forth...but this young lady has been making life for my friends son hell on earth. He feels that if he complains about her that he would look weak or look like a wimp. Lets face it, bullying is harassment no matter how you slice it. High school is hard enough just with the advanced studies, in my eyes bullies need to be made accountable for their actions, no matter what their sex.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The View

The view of our front door has vastly improved since last week. That's because my husband and son installed the new side windows in the entry way.

Here's a picture of the entry way before my improvements...notice the clear windows, vinyl flooring and the not so fancy window in the front door

Now here we go with the new improved look...

Notice what a difference the hardwood floor and the new windows make, this kind of upgrade does this house justice. And the leaded glass gives and added sense of privacy, okay well it does for the most part. There was yesterday when a child came to our front door looking to play with my daughter and she had her face plastered to one of the side windows trying to look inside of our house (which reminds me that I need to clean the glass). But at least you can't see directly into our house from the street or sidewalk.

Now don't forget...you can click on the photo's and the picture will enlarge for better detailed viewing.

WORK

Is a four letter word! I can't begin to tell you how much work has gone into getting this house "together", how much work I've put into getting the OSC Scrapbooks together and how much work I've put into getting stuff pulled for this garage sale- ugh! And of course I have all 3 things going on at once plus I'm making some sort of pasta dinner tomorrow for our son's ROTC dinner. I don't think that there's enough caffeine in my house to keep me going with all of the "work" that I still need to get done.


Decorating the plant shelves has fun but it's also been a lot of hard work...I'm not entirely happy with the 2nd one but it's going to have to be that way for now. I'm also working on getting the tea cups unpacked and out on display.


So here are a couple of pictures to show you what I've been up to...

Here you see the Americana Plant Ledge


This is one area above the kitchen cabinets that I'm working on.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Blogging and Blogger

It's funny to think that I've been blogging for over a year and I'm coming up on a full year of being with blog spot. For me this has been such an easy way of letting friends and family know what I've been up to, what I have going on and so forth. I try and encourage others to keep (and update) a blog. I hate to say it but it's so much easier for me to keep a blog than to write everyone personally to keep them updated on our goings on. So there it is...I encourage you all to keep a blog. Ü

Saturday, May 05, 2007

National Scrapbooking Day

How will I spend this day? Hopefully I'll be in my scrapbook nook being creative. I can not believe the amount of counter space I have in that room, it's so much more than what I had before. I'll post pictures later on of what I've been working on...it's bound to be a great day regardless of the weather (and currently it's rather wet). Will I be using up old supplies today? You got it! NO buying new stuff for me for this event, I've got enough to keep me happy for quite some time.

I challenge all scrapbookers to use the supplies that they have on hand and create something...be it scrapbook layouts, greeting cards or some sort of altered project! Get out your paper stash and be creative! Lora, Susan, Debby, Kim, Cindy, Kristine and yes even you René...lets get to making something today!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Things that make me laugh...

I've found much to laugh at this morning...

First off I opened a box of stuff that I know that I have not seen since moving to South Dakota over 3½ years ago...Paperkin paper dolls (anyone remember those?) I found 14 of them! Oh my gosh, I just burst out laughing when I saw them! I'm rolling my eyes at myself over this wee bit of humor. There are many other items in that box that are going straight to the garage sale area of our garage...there are things that I never used and things I had used in the past. These items are perfectly good but they no longer hold any interest for me. Hey, just because I no longer want or need them doesn't mean that they won't be exactly what someone else is looking for. The table with scrapbooking merchandise is going to be FULL to overflowing.

Catching up on the week

It's a miracle that I don't have to be anywhere else but at home today. What a perfect day to hang out in one's PJ's, well for a little while at least Ü.

The concert at our daughter's school was lovely. Our Hannah looked like she truly was having fun up there on stage. Our friends' daughter Mackenzie sang so beautifully, other children sang well but this girl was something else Ü. After the concert we surprised out daughter with a dinner out with her parents...no brother in tow just Hannah and her parents. It was nice being able to have that one on one time with our daughter.

We came home and weren't in the house 10 minutes when we heard this weird sound...like a water fall on the house. Oh my gosh it was a down pour! Well hey, I don't have to water my container garden today Ü.

Our son is at an JR ROTC Field Day somewhere in Rapid City. He and the other ROTC cadets will be having a drill off and other ROTC competition stuff. I know that he's going to be having fun today! He and the other ROTC cadets have been excused from all of their classes to spend the day down town with ROTC cadets from other schools in the area...what is not to like?

Garage Sale- it's on the 12th, the day before Mother's Day. My darling husband put up more shelves in the garage so we can get the stuff we're going to keep up and out of the way. We're hit the saturation point and need more storage areas to keep the items we want to keep. I find it amazing how we thought that we were doing so well with purging our stuff on such a regular basis. Now that we're in this larger house we are pulling stuff from all over the place that we no longer want and or need. How do we do that? I mean really, how? We have all kinds of things for this garage sale...a brand new over the range microwave oven, a brand new dishwasher, loads of shelving with brackets, a good amount of scrapbooking supplies, tools and even some Sizzix dies. Now there won't be any scrapbooking paper as I have given it all away to friends (just call me an enabler). There will be table lamps (a good way to make sure I get new ones Ü is to sell off the old ones) and lets not even talk about the clothing, women's men's and kids. I think that I'll have my friend Sherri bring over her washer and dryer and put them in our garage sale. Picture frames, we're going to have oodles of picture frames for sale too! I'm changing things here in the house and picture frames are one of those things that are being changed out. So I better get on that project this morning before I get sucked into doing something else...like scrapbooking Ü and best of all...it's a project I can do while hanging out in my jammies.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Finding Inspiration

I have to tell you, I have made some pretty some awesome friends here at Ellsworth AFB. When I had told my friend Kim about wanting to host a Mother's Day brunch for the MSG wives that have husbands away on deployed or remote assignments she was right there willing to lend a helping hand as are my other girlfriends Cindy, Molly, Sherri, and Kristi to name a few. It might have started out as my luncheon idea but now "Our Luncheon" is going to be so much more. I have so much respect for these women and their families. I've witnessed first hand the kinds of sacrifices and hardships that they have endured while their husbands have been away- having been through it myself I know how hard it can be at times just to make it through a day in their shoes. So with their sacrifices in mind, from my heart I started making plans to host a luncheon to honor them. It's become a wonderful thing. Besides a fabulous lunch brunch sort of thing we've got going on, we're going to have goodie bags for them and give them time to hang out and relax. When I need inspiration, I just think of any of my girlfriends that are doing the single parent thing right now...when I have days where I think that "I" have it rough, I just need to think about how rough it really could be. These ladies inspire me to be more and to do more with our military community. Am I proud to be an Air Force Wife? You know I am! But I'm even more proud of the men and women who keep the home fires burning and the families together through all sorts of weather. Please keep our military families in your thoughts and prayers as they go through deployment and remote assignments to places far and away from those they love.

allergy season is upon me

For two days I've had nonstop watery eyes and a runny nose...and that's WITH the allergy medication. I can only imagine how bad it would be without allergy meds. Red itchy eyes, oh I must look lovely, LOL! I can't seem to pass up a tissue box without having to grab and immediately use a tissue. I do have to say that my allergies seem to be not as severe here in this house as they were while we lived on base (go figure). I feel a headache coming on, better head it off before it grows into a migraine.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Grown Up Bedding

So here it is...our new no kids allowed Grown Up Bedding Ü I've waited years to have a beautiful bed like this and I'm not about to have my kids jumping on our bed or eating while on our bed watching TV. I've got a no food allowed policy for the bedrooms here and that goes double for the master bedroom! Granted we've still got other pieces of furniture to put in here but I wanted to show you all how pretty it looks.

It's Wednesday

It's Wednesday and I have 1001 things to get done. There's an OSC board meeting that I have to attend, Girl Scouts that I have to watch over and of course during that time I have to pick up my son from school because of his after school activities. I wonder what it's like for those women that work outside of them home. I guess that they just have to put everything on the back burner... no after school activities for the kids, and nothing but work and home for them. I know what it was like when I was working last year, it was total chaos and I hated it! I felt that all I did when I was home was to pick up after everyone, cook and do laundry and wash dishes. I never felt rested, I felt as if I was working 18 hours a day 7 days a week. I was very stressed out. So when I start to feel overwhelmed I just have to remind myself how stressed out I really was while working, having my husband TDY somewhere in the world and the kids needing to be picked up from school and not being able to have anyone else that could do that for me. I can juggle what I have going on today, it's just that I think that I'd rather be doing something else, LOL!

more on Landscaping


We've had a couple more companies come out and so far none of them has shown the amount of enthusiasm and ideas for our future yard as the 2nd guy. The picture you see was done using digital enhancement. My husband took the 2nd contractors idea and made it come to life for me (it's no wonder why I love my husband as much as I do). I'm pretty sure that we're going to go with the 2nd contractor, his ideas have been terrific and he really knows his stuff!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Cardboard

Believe it or not I'm still working on unpacking and putting away things. Am I losing my motivation on this? Yes, LOL! Yesterday a friend asked me if I was done unpacking...I had to say no. I have to say that I'm amazed with those that can set up their entire house in a week after a move. I want to make sure that the pictures are going up where I want them to be...and not have to worry about having a 1001 nail holes because I changed my mind a dozen times or more on their placement. You see, it's only me doing this unpacking. I'm going through everything putting it in it's place and so forth. It's quite the challenge, to say the least it's become something I dread, LOL! To be perfectly honest, I've run out of storage space. I need to get another chrome shelf unit from Lowe's to go in the downstairs closet. Once I get that set up then I will have a place for my scrapbooking magazines and idea books and of course the 2 huge boxes of board games (our daughter loves board games). Well with this in mind I better measure what size chrome shelf I have in my scrapbook nook and buy the same size for the closet. As you can tell, my day is planned out for me.

Landscaping

We're in this new home a month, now it's time to start thinking about the landscaping issues that lay ahead of us. We have quite the large lot, not as large as our friends down the street who also have a corner lot (theirs is an acre) but big enough to cause concern about giving the proper house curb appeal. The neighbors across the street from us have a gorgeous green lawn that looks like emerald green carpet BUT there's no landscaping- no pretty plants or trees, just green weed free grass everywhere. It looks nice but but to be perfectly honest there is something missing and you notice that while admiring the beautiful lawn.

We've had 2 landscaping companies come by and give us their thoughts on our yard. I'm waiting on the 2nd company to give us their bid proposal. I think that we're having either 3 or 4 companies come out. I'm not looking to go with the least expensive company, I'm looking for the the one who can meet our needs and has the best ideas for our yard. The man who came by yesterday had oodles of great ideas ad even drew them out in the dirt with a spray can (it was so nice to see this mans ideas and I mean "see"). I looked out at the yard this morning and I can see where he used the spray paint and drew out the ideas for where the fence would go, where the river rock border would go, the concrete curbing and so forth. I really liked this guys ideas, and he's got some good ones. The first company was nice enough but no true enthusiasm for the job. The first company was basically rocks would go here, fence would go there, concrete curbing would go over there. There wasn't any creativity in the way they went about measuring out anything. So we shall see what the other companies bring to the table as far as ideas are concerned.

So this 2nd company has plans for my flower garden in the backyard and my pergola :-) I want to have a Wisteria again and have it climb and wind around a pergola and I will have a concrete bench in my flower garden with a bird bath and a statuary of the Virgin Mary would be nice too. Ü I can see myself surrounded by flowers in my garden that smell like heaven on earth. Have you see the movie "Just like Heaven"? Picture something like the garden that Reese Witherspoon is sitting in at the beginning of the movie. Maybe not quite elaborate but similar in many ways.