I’m beginning to like February more and more these days. I used to lump it in with the cold miserable months of winter but this year… it just wasn’t cold nor miserable. In fact, I think I like it best because it’s short and before you know it… it’s over.
Being that I had a pretty decent February, I’ll share some of my highlights and pictures. I’m sorry if you follow me on instagram because much of these pics will be repeats. I’ll try to mix it up.
This little guy really keeps me on my toes. He’s latest favorite activity is cooking.
I call this “Sam Makes Toast”
I went on my first ever getaway ALL BY MY SELF!! I left the hubby and kids home and hopped on a plane for Virginia.
I met up with my sisters-in-law and mother-in-law and had a grand old party. It was so much fun that we hope to make it a tradition.
We spent a lot of time eating lots of good food.
We went shopping and got pedicures.
We did a little bit of yard work to help one sister get ready for moving into a new (gorgeous!) house on Capital street in Washington DC. (swoon!)
I eventually had to come home. My kids and husband survived without me just fine although I’m not sure what they ate. Nuggets, I guess.
I made it back in time to welcome a new little nephew into the world. He’s had to spend his first couple of weeks in the nicu. He was born with a tumor but he is doing well and should be able to come home soon. Ya for my sweet little sister and her amazing strength.
I, of course, spend a lot of my mornings here at the climbing gym. It really is the most fun way to work out, if you ask me. I can’t wait until warmer weather when I can get out on the real rocks.
It has been unseasonably warm after a bitter January. It’s been warm enough to have a few outdoor adventures with the family. Here’s Leah posing for me near Bell Canyon.
Love, love, love this pic of Leah on the rock. I’ll gobble her up, that sweet innocent thing.
My brother and his wife came to town for a short trip and some baby showers (another nephew on the way.) It was great to see him and remember just how tall he actually is. (You can’t tell when we’re sitting down. He’s a monstrous 6’5″.)
For an activity I took him climbing. I couldn’t help it and I think he enjoyed himself.
We also did some unexpected spring skiing in February. It was the most unbelievably, nicest day ever.
I hope we can keep tearing it up on the slopes for a few more years to come. Big fun.
We strapped some skis on Sammy but he really didn’t go anywhere other than getting pushed around on a flat section of snow. Still cute though. Oh wait, I’m totally biased.
So that’s it. I’m looking forward to March and the grass greening up. How about you?
Hello there. I’m loving March so far. How about you? My daffodils are coming up and I can hardly wait!
I found some time to scrapbook today. Here’s my pages I made.
I am really loving my monthly pages because I can sure get a lot of photos done in a short amount of time. Especially when they aren’t very exciting pictures. I’ll save more creative designs for vacations and amazing pictures that I want to high light. This way is so much easier and faster. I can’t help it. I know that it is really the lazy route to scrapbooking but that’s what is working for me right now. No fanciness here. Is it working for you? Don’t tell me if you think they’re boring. You can use them, I promise.
If you want this easy and fast scrapbooking template for your own photo albums download this template for free for a limited time by clicking here.
Awesome, now on to playing in this early spring-ish weather.
Do you ever feel completely and utterly bored? Do you stare at the walls of your house like it’s some sort of prison? Do you long for an errand to pop into your head? The phone to ring?
Is is really just me?
I have plenty of housework to do but nothing on the calendar today. I’m sure there are people that long for these sort of days but for me… they drive me crazy. I need to get out of the house at least once a day. If not… I go INSANE. You might think I’m joking or exaggerating but it’s true.
Ask my mom.
Yesterday was packed full of things to do. Boring days tend to follow right after busy ones. I wake up rearing to go but then I falter… There is nothing to rear for. (ok, I know that made no sense.)
I spent the morning on the computer but that drives Sammy mad. He must get bored like me. We are a terrible combination. He needed some entertainment too so I bucked up (what am I, a horse today?) and took the littles on a walk to the playground. We are enjoying a little bit of a warm snap. It’s one of those February days where you start singing that song As I Lay Me down to Sleep.
It felt like spring time
On this February morning
In the courtyard
Birds were singing your praise
I’m still recalling things you said
To make me feel alright
I carried them with me today
As I lay me down to sleep
This I pray
That you will hold me dear
Though I’m far away
I’ll whisper your name
Into the sky
And I will wake up happy
I remember telling my mom once a long, long time ago that for once- I wanted to wake up happy.
Anyhoo, I’ve really strayed from my topic.
I’m feeling a little better now that I’ve been out and I’ve put Sam down for a nap. Finally I have some quiet time to enjoy.
Guess what that means…
I’m ready to dive into my 2012 pictures. I really want to crank them out and make some major head way. I’m starting off with my very first page as a cover page. Is that what you call it? Opening page? Title page? Well either way, here it is.
My last name really isn’t Smith. Did I fool you? If you know it for reals keep it to yourself, Okay? I’m trying to fool those creepy internet stockers that haunt blogging dreams and make us want to put masks on all of our faces.
Moving on… would you like a template just like this. It’s your lucky day. Here you go. Download it here for a limited time.
All of the fonts are editable. In case you would like to use the exact same fonts I’ll tell you what and where they are. I’ve downloaded them all for free. Hurray for free.
OUR is Perpetus Titling MT
FAMILY is Archistico
ADVENTURES is Admiration Pains
all dingbats including THE and the banner are Bergamot Ornaments
SMITHS is Desdemona
Hurray! I finally finished my 2011 album. I looovvee printing my pages!! and getting them tucked safely away in an album.
I’ved used these Pioneer books for a few years now.
They aren’t my absolute favorites but I can get them cheap at Joann’s with a coupon. I like that they have expandable spines and can fit an unlimited number of pages. Ya never know how many pages a year will make.
These albums have a 4×4 square on the front. I can take it or leave it, really, but since the square is there, I always whip up a little paper with the date on it to fill it in. I literally spend a couple minutes on it and just print it at home.
It makes grabbing the right year easy enough although I’d prefer something on the spine. Ideally, I’d like to figure out a good way to put the year on each spine like I did with 2007 (see below.) The paper-ish spine cover on the Pioneers seem flimsy to me. I wish they were a bit more substantial. I think what I hate most is the adjustable holes on the spine cover. You can see them in the picture below. Tacky! if you ask me. Overall, they are fine books and get the job done.
The 2007 book is a Colorbok and I like it a bit more than the Pioneer. The green leather album holds our 2008 pages and is a We R Memory Keepers album but this link is for a 12×12 postbound. It doesn’t look like they make 8x8s postbound anymore. Boo. Their 8x8s are only 3 ring binders. My 2009 book, which is black doesn’t have a brand on it anywhere but it feels very much like the Colorbok and I like it. The blue and small black are Pioneers. Can you see the expandable post holes on the spine cover… yuck. There must be a better way.
I print 8×8 pages instead of 12×12 even though I scrap on the computer in 12×12. I just figure I don’t need HUGE books or HUGE pictures. I’m really happy with 8x8s and plan to stick with it.
Here are some of my favorite pages from the year. I tend to gravitate to neutral backgrounds, simple layouts and tons of pictures.
When I can flip quickly through an album it’s easy to spot the highlights from that year.
From our beach trip…
From our spring break…
I even love the pages that I threw together super fast just to get photos quickly scrapbooked and done.
The month of December…
At the end of my books I always stick in my christmas cards from that year. They are overlapped and not even stuck down but I still love having them there. I can flip through and see all my darling loved ones at a glance.
So with 2011 done it’s time to get busy with 2012 photos. Are you caught up or behind just like me? Maybe you don’t scrapbook in order and just have fun doing what you want. Do you print out your pages? Do you stick them in an album or do you print a bound book? Do you have a favorite type of album?
Are you all ecstatic to see another post from me in such a short time? Heck yah! I am. And I even have a template to give away. Get excited! Whoot whoot!
I know January is coming to a close so I’m a month behind but I truly believe in the “better late than never” policy. I enjoy making Year in Review pages every year. I love putting them in my yearly scrapbooks and having that quick glance at what happened that past year and what I’ll find in that particular book.
Putting them together is pretty fun too. With my kids growing and changing so fast it is fun to compare January to December pictures. I alway exclaim “What! Look how they’ve grown!” When I start looking through pictures and picking my favs for the month I always feel like January was ages ago and December was yesterday. Oh wait. It pretty much was.
Here are my pages. Look at how they’ve grown!
I guess I’ve been doing these Year in Reviews for 4 years. I had to go look back at the other years I have made.
- 2012- Here is the post for Template 98. It’s for sale in my shop here.
- 2011- Template 83 is sold in a pack in my shop here.
- 2010- Template 67 is found in a pack here.
- 2009- My very first Year in Review Template 46 is found in a pack here. (I could find the original post for that one. It is a mystery.)
If you’d like to make your own Year in Review then you are in luck. I decided to make little Polaroid frames for my pictures and the square clipping masks worked perfect if I picked an Instagram to highlight that particular month.
Download Template 106 -2013 Year in Review here for a limited time.
If you want to use it for a different year than go ahead and delete the year numbers and add your own (or don’t even use it for a Year in Review… it’s ok, I wont have my feelings hurt.)
Hello there. It’s me Mandagirl with renewed desire to salvage this tiny little blog.
This winter season has really kicked me in the pants. I’ve just been battling one challenge after another.
In early December in the midst of Christmas card making, my motherboard died on my Asus laptop. I had a completely and totally dead computer. Useless. Luckily, I was able to pull off all my data and save pictures and files. Instead of buying a new computer, I’ve inherited an old laptop of my husbands. It’s leftover from past employment and it’s a MacBook. It’s has taken me a while to get use to the command key being in a different spot and the way folders and trash bins and everything else works. I know there is a whole slew of Mac fans out there… I’m not quite sure where I stand. I guess it will just take time to get use to things.
I’ve also had a hard time getting use to the photoshop version on this Mac. It’s something like CS2. Ancient, I’m sure. I really miss my Elements… sigh! Again, I guess I’ll get use to it.
I’ve made a couple pages with this photoshop. No new templets yet. I’m still feeling my way around. The whole flow of creating feels different.
I tired my hand at the new craze of chalkboard font fun and loved the result. There are a slew of cool fonts and free chalkboard backgrounds on the interwebs. Which I’m sure you already knew. Google and Pinterest are my BFF’s.
New Years greeted me with a nasty cold virus that knocked me out for a solid week and it’s still lingering a bit in my chest. I had to skip all New Year celebrations due to the acute tonsillitis that was attacking me. I couldn’t swallow more than broth for 3 days. It was terrible. I can’t even describe the shooting pain in my head. My ear was screaming at me but wasn’t even infected. I’m one tough soul but this was miserable.
Technical difficulty? Yes!
Another little technical difficulty I’ve had is my cell phone. I seem to be breaking those right and left. They’ve been swimming in my toilet and taking 30 foot drops off climbing crags.
My fault? Yes. I never said it wasn’t.
My little motorola free phone I’ve had lately takes awful pictures. Junky colorcast images. I’ve lived with it even after I cracked up the screen but now the crack down the screen finally decided to kill the middle of the touch screen making it impossible to use. The home button and Y, G, T and M didn’t work. I just upgraded to a new shinny iphone 5c (because of a cheaper-than-I-was-paying-promotion) and I am terrified that I’ll break it in 3 months. I have to make it last for 18 mo.
Yikes, wish me luck. Especially with this little guy around.
During the switch, I forgot to get my crummy pictures off of the motorola. Problem was I couldn’t get the computer to connect to it so I could pull them off. Thanks to Dropbox I was able to save all the worthless pictures of December and half of January. Lucky you, I’m sharing them now… thus the random pictures.
Next up, I’ve been off of Mandagirl for so long that when I finally was feeling inspired to write something I couldn’t log in. My WordPress dashboard was broken somehow. I wondered if it was because of the computer switch. It took me a couple weeks (with the help of my webhost) to discover a plugin or two that needed to be updated and was freezing everything.
So… now I’m back. In full force. I’m determined to keep this site up…. stop, I hear you all laughing.
Well, there is one fact… And that fact is that I still love digital scrapbooking and I definitely want/need to keep that up. I’m 2 years behind! If I’m going to keep scrapbooking then I think I can manage to keep this blog alive. Yes?
My kids had a couple day off for Fall break and I was itching to get away and have an adventure. After a little debate on where to go we settled on Capitol Reef National Park. None of us had been there and with the time restraint on us we realized it was the perfect spot. The drive was only a few hours from our house and because the nights were a wee bit too chilly for camping we booked an affordable motel in a small town outside of the park.
Wow, were we pleasantly surprised. The drive down was gorgeous, the motel nice and comfortable with an amazing view and the park absolutely breath taking.
We drove down Friday morning, had a quick lunch break and headed out on our first adventure. We went to hike Grand Wash. We drove down to the lower trail head on a dirt road and started getting super excited as the cliffs rose up around us. At one point the kids begged to get out of the car and explore the rocks because they looked so fun.
We parked at the trail head and headed up the flat bottomed wash. I knew right away the kids were going to love it because they immediately ran up ahead and hid in some sandstone holes to surprise us.
Peek a boo!
Sam wanted to get up there too.
The wash was so family friendly. It was just a couple miles from one end to the other and there are other variations if you have an older crowd. It was so mellow and pleasant. At the narrowest point the cliffs were about 15 feet apart. It kind of reminds me of the Narrows in Zions but without the river.
But the holes…
Oh the holes!!
There was something around every corner to explore.
And always something beautiful to look at.
Here is my little mountain goat that didn’t stop for one minute.
Sam wanted to get off my back and hike like the big boys.
We hiked out before the sun set and before it started to get cold. The opening picture at the very top of this post is along the road back to the motel at a look out point called Panorama Point. Pretty eh? We got a bite to eat in the cute little town of Torrey, hit the swimming pool and slept like babies.
The next day we enjoyed free breakfast, packed up and headed out for one more adventure. I had Sulphur Creek planned out but I was unsure how family friendly it was really going to be for my little ones. It was 5 miles (although the page I just linked to said 6.25 and my gps on the hike said 5.6) down a river that required a little bit of down climbing involving 3 waterfall features (but I counted 4) and lots of wading in ankle deep water. I wasn’t sure how my kids were going to hold up.
The first mile and 1/2 is down a dry wash. It felt boring, hot and long to the kids after all the fun holes from yesterday. I started to worry but when we reached the river smiles started popping back up. The trail follows the river down stream and you are forced to cross several times due to the cliffs on the sides.
The kids wadded right in and did a great job. It was so beautiful and we had the whole place to ourselves. We stopped by a gorgeous yellow tree to let the kids climb and take some pictures.
We caught up to a small family at the first waterfall. This was the first real feature that required down climbing. We were able to watch them climb down and it gave some peace knowing it wasn’t technical or anything.
Once you get down on the ground you can tell how mild it was. From the top it’s hard to tell what’s down there. Nothing we couldn’t handle though.
After the first waterfall, the canyon closes in and you feel like you are in a real slot canyon. At times there is no where to walk but right in the river. Way to go Emma!
Here is Isaac feeling really cool about himself. He really was a tough guy and hiked super well.
Near the end the girls started getting cold and tired. Jeremy was a great and carried them when needed. I posted a couple pictures on instagram of my super hero.
I packed Sam the whole way so I wasn’t much help. Despite the cold and the length of the hike I was so proud of my kids. They did an amazing job and complained very little.
At the end, Emma especially, was blown away at what we had done. She wanted to tell everyone she had just hike 5 miles and climbed down waterfalls all by herself. I told her that she can do hard things and it feels really good to accomplish something like that.
We made such great memories. Be sure and check out Capitol Reef if you are ever in the area.
I can hardly believe it but I have chosen, on this fine November day, to spend Sam’s afternoon nap at the computer. Crazy, huh! I have a precious 1 and 1/2 hour all to myself and I choose to spend it with you. Hah!
Nap times, as of late have been spent watching all the BBC TV mini-series I can on Netflix (like North and South (swoon)) or checking out new routes on Mountain Project or (do I dare admit it) wasting away my 5 lives on Candy Crush Saga. (Yes, I have no pride) But I can’t help it. That games goes on and and forever. Someone please stop me.
Today I will be more productive and clean up the photos on my phone. And lucky you, I’ll share and sum up the whole of my October…
I know, I know, many of you don’t care a snit of what I’ve been up to and are only hoping for more free digital scrapbooking pages to download (patience, my friends) but at the request of my sweet mother, who is demanding more pictures of my darling children to see, I will do it. I will update the world wide web with all my lovely nonsense.
To kick off the arrival of colder weather we decided to make a quick road trip to Idaho. You see, it’s incredibly freezing up there when the wind blows so we thought it would help us appreciate our more milder fall down in Utah. (I’m kidding, really. In truth, we just wanted to love and snuggle our dear family member and swap germs while we’re at it.) We spent a couple days just hanging out and building forts. My kids absolutely adore their cousins and beg for a better life at Aunt Jessie’s house. She can paint faces. That’s a sure win-over for kids.
I tried to show how awesome of an aunt I could be a took the whole crew rock climbing.
That’s my 12 year old nephew up there just pulling those tiny ledges like a champ.
But the wind blew and everyone began to freeze. Time to retreat to the safety of shelter.
But first, Emma had to jump in to a bramble bush to catch a large slow moving snake.
We spent an hour or so pulling the brambles from her hair.
Back home in Utah, I made the most of the beautiful fall weather by taking hikes with Sam while the kids were at school. My goal was to do this once a week or so but it only worked out a couple times due to rain and snow coming in early and a runners knee problem. Ouch, am I getting to old for all of this?
I would hike as high as I could until it was time to turn around for Leah’s preschool pick up. Talk about a stair stepping workout with my 30 pound Sam on my back.
Still trying to make the most of the fall weather, I went on a picnic with my little sister and my darling red-headed niece.
We shivered in the shade but found a sunny spot by the river to bask in while Sammy threw rocks in the water.
One day I stopped at a pumpkin patch in an effort to be a festive and fun mom and then quickly had to bee-line it out of there because Sam wouldn’t stop throwing pumpkins (even really big ones!) The last thing I wanted to do was pay for a bunch of damaged pumpkins. No cute pumpkin patch pictures year.
We did a family hike or two to catch the last of the golden leaves in the mountains.
Too bad Jeremy is laying down behind Sam on this next one. It could have been a really cute pic.
I got sick of all the ponytails and buns I was doing and chopped off all of my frizzy locks on a whim. I may or may not regret it.
I went refrigerator shopping more than I would have liked to. Ours broke leaving us with soggy frozen vegetables and defrosting meat. I’m loving the new french door one, though.
I’ve rearranged my furniture, yet again. What I really need to do is knock out a wall.
We pulled off an amazing Fall Break trip to Capitol Reef National Park for a much needed getaway. (more pictures to come if you’re lucky)
I spent a good week or two nursing sick kids. Big frowny face!!
And because I’ll take all the time off I can get, I spent a beautifully warm Saturday with my good climbing friend, Janaan, at Maple Canyon pulling all the cobbles we could get our hands on to.
We tried a couple multi-pitch climbs. They were so easy but super fun. At the top you can see the turkey farms down in the valley below and if the wind blew just right you could smell them too.
This is the start of a full 60 meter pitch that was really, really fun!
Me, hanging out on the ledge between pitches. You can’t really tell that there is a 190 foot drop below me. Shh, mom stop screaming.
Oh! and we celebrated Halloween. I’m happy it’s over. Making costumes and eating way to much candy is not for me. Here’s a blurry picture of my four. I was lucky to get any kind of pic because the boys didn’t want to cooperate with me. Can you tell by Isaac’s dejected stance? I’m sure he’s not smiling.
Whoo, what a month! On to November and feeling grateful.
With such a busy renovation themed summer, we were really looking forward to a little family getaway before school started. We wanted to take the last week and go on the most relaxing but fun trip we could manage. Jeremy and I threw around ideas that consisted of each of the western states that were in driving range. I ruled out camping because that is too much work for me and Jeremy ruled out National Parks because that seemed like too much driving around for the kids.
So we decided on California.
We wanted to spend plenty of time at the beach and less time at theme parks. Less walking and more relaxing was our idea of a relaxing vacation. We purchased a Costco 3 for 1 Sea World pass that included the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
So we alternated- beach, Sea World, beach, Zoo, beach, Safari. I think we managed to keep everyone happy and had just the right amount of adventure and relaxing. It was the perfect way to spend our last week of summer.
Here are our highlights:
First stop- Laguna Beach Shaw’s Cove.
We absolutely fell in love with this place.
This cove apparently was a little local secret that a friend let us in on. We took our snorkel gear and were so amazed at how good the snorkeling was. Apparently the waves are very small in California in August and so it’s the perfect time to snorkel.
We saw sea stars the size of dinner plates, leopard sharks, the cutest purple sea urchins and bright orange fish. It was a really cool life experience for the kids.
Next up- La Jolla
La Jolla is to die for. It’s one of our favorite places to go because it is so amazing. But it’s no secret and so everyone else is there too. It felt a bit crowded after such a pleasant day at Shaw’s Cove but we still had an amazing time.
La Jolla has something special to offer… Seals! We were able to snorkel here too and although we didn’t sea any sea stars and sea urchins we saw lots of seals. We were able to swim right by them, listen to them bark and watch them swim around and play with each other. They didn’t mind people there at all. They’d go around or under you while swimming. It was super cool.
This particular seal in the picture below must have been king. He was huge! There were a whole bunch of people up on this rock playing around and he decided he wanted the rock for himself so he hopped up there and barked at everyone. Of course everyone took off and left him to bask in the sun and show off his impressive size.
The kids always like to play in the funky trees there along the side walks.
Outside of the cove the waves were bigger and even though we were headed home the kids had to stop and play in the waves as the the tide came in.
Next stop- Sea World
Pet dolphins and sea rays, feed seals and get soaked by killer whales. What more could you ask for?
Relaxing on Sunday- San Diego Temple
When we are on a vacation that consists of a Sunday we always do our best to still honor the Sabbath day. So on this particular Sunday we attend the local LDS church and went to see the San Diego Temple.
That night we went for a quiet walk along Mission Beach.
Next adventure- San Diego Zoo and Coronado Island
We had only planned to spend a half day at the Zoo. The kids had done enough walking around at Sea World and weren’t too excited about the zoo. We’d been there on a previous trip as well and so we thought we’d just do a quick loop and then head out. Who were we kidding? The animal lovers in my family couldn’t quit and so we spent more time there then planned. I didn’t take very many pictures at all but the one above of Leah I think it’s kinda sweet.
We took off from the zoo and headed to Coronado Island. After all the snorkeling we had done, Jeremy and Isaac were itching to find some waves for boogie boarding.
We found some, although they were rather small.
Last stop- San Diego Safari Park
We told the kids we were going to go on a safari type bus ride around the park. When we walked in a found out we had to do quite a bit of walking around the zoo before we got to any kind of safari, Isaac was very upset and put out. My solution… hand the kid my camera.
As a result I have 400 blurry pictures of animals in cages. He loved it. Here is a collage of his best.
Overall we had a good time. I think we were all a bit tired and hot. There were moments that we all wanted to melt into the sidewalk.
We enjoyed the petting zoo.
But was disappointed in the safari experience. Part of the problem was Sam. He was so tired and worn out that he cried for most of it. He made for a very uncomfortable bus ride. I swear the foreign family next to us was talking about us in their own language and laughing at us. Very uncomfortable.
Emma rarely pulls her hair so I absolutely love these pictures with her hot enough for a pony tail.
Well that’s a rap. After the safari park we started our journey home. A 9-10 hour car ride isn’t always fun but I made sure to check out plenty of dvds from the library. We also broke up the trip with a night in Vegas at a darling, darling friend of mine from the good ol’ college days. Look at how the two of us have reproduced!