Sunday, December 14, 2008

Oh, I Love Presents!!!!!

What a treat!! I went out to get my mail last week and was greeted to a lovely surprise from Close to My Heart. They spoil all their directors with a beautiful gift each year.

Last years was the necklace that I am wearing in my blog picture.

Here is this years. They wrapped it up so pretty. It was almost too pretty to open!!!

So, I thought I would look at it all pretty some more and opened the card.

Close up of the cute card. Someone went to a lot of work on all these cards!

Ok, enough -- let's rip this puppy open!! And we find a beautiful bracelet. Mmm. . . yummy! Thank you Close to My Heart!!! I love the new bling!!!


Winter's Kisses!

Here is my December scrapbook club page. I had so much fun making the snowflakes on this one. It is a stampset from Close to My Heart called Uniquely You. There are about 15 different pieces of a snowflake. You can mix and match to your heart's desire. What fun! I embossed these to make them pop off the page.

The paper for this page is called Aspen. It is one of my favorites out of the Fall/Winter idea book. I love the pretty blues in it.

As much as my son wants it to snow, I am really hoping it stays away a little longer. I really don't like driving in the white stuff.


Let It Be Christmas

Welcome!!! Come on in and take a peek! We spent the weekend getting our house ready for Christmas. I still need to finish making the tree look good, but I am pretty pleased with how the rest is turning out. I finally got my Uppercase Living on the wall and I bought some new decorations.

I love snowmen! I am such a sucker for them. So, I couldn't resist the new one that is in my entryway now. I have another on order that should be arriving in a couple of days. I can't wait for it to come!! It is really starting to feel like Christmas around here! And the kids were in fine form today, so I can tell Christmas is getting closer! LOL! The cold has also moved in, so it was a perfect day to stay home and decorate. Right now, it is 1 degree outside and with the windchill is is in the negative 20's. BRRRR!!!!

We were asked to host my dad's side of the family Christmas this year, but we thought we probably shouldn't, in case anyone was sick. Lynn can't really take any chances right now. So, I am a little bummed that no one will get to see all our our work from this weekend. We might ask his Dad and step mom to come over on Christmas eve.

Another thing that really gets me in the Christmas spirit is music. I just love the lyrics to this song. Let It Be Christmas by Alan Jackson. I think it really talks about the spirit of Christmas -- that Christmas is in our hearts and is felt through the love that we share. I bought this cd last year and this was the song I played over and over. It is such a meaningful song.

Here are some more of my new pretties!!

Enjoying the Season ~


Monday, December 1, 2008

Thank you Mrs. A!!!

Since April, my chidren and I have been making the trek to Lincoln (an hour and a 1/2 drive --each way!) twice a week for Samuel to meet with a trainer at LearningRX. He is very right brained and phonic programs do not make sense to him, so we sought out some additional help. It was a very intense program. He worked with her for 3 hours each week and then he and I had 3 hours of home training each week. I think my brain has been trained now also!

His trainer was wonderful. He loved working with her and she did a great job with him. She told him many times that he was her favorite and that she didn't know what she would do when it was time for him to be done with the program.

We thought we would never see the end, but the day before Thanksgiving was our last day with Barb. I am kind of sad that the end has come. We had some fun days driving there and hanging out together, yet I am glad that we will now have those 10 plus hours at home!! Maybe we can get something done around here??? LOL!

Anyway, a special person deserves a special thank you gift. I had so much fun whipping this up for her. She was such a big part of our life for the past 8 months.

I used one Close to My Heart's acrylic albums. These are so much fun to work with!! I am trying to think of who else I could make one for now.

I had a hard time parting with it. Guess I'll just have to make another one now for Samuel to remember all his hard work.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy ??? Birthday to me . . .

HA!!! Thank goodness it is almost midnight and my birthday is just about over. This one hasn't been very good at all. I should have done what I was originally planning, which was taking the kids out for a fun day. I opted to stay at home though and am now regretting it.

Part of what made it so awful is that my husband scheduled a major medical procedure for today without even telling me about it. This is something I thought that we would discuss together when the time came and I have been totally in the dark about it. Not only am I hurt that he has kept me in the dark about this, but I am also very angry.

I didn't even get a present to open today. The kids and Lynn gave me flowers and bought a cake. I was so wound up today over his secret that going out for supper didn't even sound good. The kids wanted to take me out though, so we went to Perkins.

Hopefully next year's will be better ~ I guess it can't get much worse.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

3 Days of Cropping . . . .

And this is what I have to show for it!! LOL! :)

I spent last weekend at a 3 day crop in Albion, Nebraska. I had a good time talking, laughing, and getting little sleep, but don't have much at all to show for it.

The 3 classes that I taught and the booth kept me busy, so this was all I got done. These pictures are from 2002, but I love the way this layout turned out. I am glad I waited to scrap them.

I had a great time though and can't wait to do it again next year!


Making Life a Little Easier . . .

Ok, so it doesn't look so pretty in my *needs to be defrosted* freezer, but there are 27 meals in there ready to go!!! I am so excited. October and November have been pretty busy around here. I hosted one crop in October and am teaching/vending at 2 in November. Add in our trips to Lincoln twice a week and life is busy. It seems like 5 o'clock always rolls around and the kids are saying they are hungry and I have no idea what we are going to have for supper.

I spent Sat., Nov. 1st making all of these. The kids were a big help and even better -- now that we have started eating them, they say that everyone has been good. They did think last nights was too spicy though. Samuel said tonight that we need to make notes about which were good and which weren't so we can do this again. He's a thinker!! LOL! We used recipes from

I learned a few things from this venture. If at all possible, don't shop and cook on the same day! By the time I got everything bought and home, it was late afternoon. We worked on these until about 10 and had the majority of them done. Also, prep work is important. If I had it to do again, I would shop on Friday and cook on Saturday. I would also do the prep work Friday night, so I would be ready to roll on Saturday.

I have always wanted to do this and I think it would be fun to do with a friend. However, I could never find anyone that was able to get together or had similar tastes. My mom said she would come help me tries this a couple of years ago, but she was just too busy to come help.

I finally just decided that it was time to give it a whirl and see how it went. It really wasn't as bad as I had thought. The kids were a bigger help than I thought they would be. Next time around should be even better, now that I have them trained. :) LOL! There favorite job was to suck the air out of the bag with the handy dandy new tool from ziploc.

It has been very nice just pulling out a meal and KNOWING what is for supper at 5 pm!!



More October fun & a Belated Happy Halloween!

The kids had Wild Hair night at AWANA.  These were our hair creations.    They received the titles of most colorful.  They had quite the do's.  I hope they got coloring their hair out of their system and won't need to do that again!

Happy Belated Halloween from the Wicked Witch and The Hulk!!!! These were our little spooks. We went to the Family Fun Fest for an evening of games and candy. It was a fun night and it wasn't too crowded.

They really raked in the loot. Now, it they would just stop hiding it from me, I would have a pretty good supply of candy!!

We have been enjoying the fun of Fall! It's hard to believe that the Christmas season will soon be upon us. It seems like I missed a good chunk of fall with being gone.


AACK!!!! Where has October gone?????

Oh my!!  I can't believe it is already November and I haven't updated my blog at all.  I have thought about it many times, but just haven't had the time to sit down and type.  I was looking through some pictures tonight to post on here and can see why the month has flown by.  

I'll have to post pictures of our trip later.  There are too many great pictures to go through them tonight (I took over 1,300!!!)  It was truly the trip of a lifetime.  I really enjoyed it and would love to go back again if I ever get the chance.  I would have loved to have spent more time in London and in Pompeii.  Next time though, I'll leave Lynn at home!!   LOL!  I may be looking for a friend to take to NZ with me on the next one.  He isn't excited at all about the plane ride.

We got home on the 13th and Samuel's birthday was on the 18th.  I can't believe that "my baby" is 10 already!!  Where have the years gone?  It is hard to believe that he started out at 5 pounds 10 oz.  It won't be too much longer before he will be as tall as me!!  

We wanted to spend some time with the kids, so we went to Omaha to celebrate his birthday at Coco Keys (an indoor waterpark).  It was a lot of fun.  Samuel wanted to go to Cheesecake Factory for supper -- yummy!  I wish we had one closer to us.  


Thursday, September 25, 2008

One Week from Today!!!!

We will be heading to London!!!  A week from right now, I will be on a plane, a very long plane ride that I am not looking forward too! LOL!  However, I can't wait to see all the places that we are headed.  Big Ben, the Vatican, Leaning Tower, the Colosseum.  Places I have only dreamed of going.

Olivia announced at supper last night that she can't wait to see the Leaning Tower of Pizza.  :)  I said, "Um, honey, you aren't going with us, so you won't get to see it."  She looked at me, with this exasperated look and said, "I know . . . I can't wait to see pictures of it."  The attitude is there already at age 6!!  

For a split second, I thought maybe we should have taken them.  They have really taken an interest in what we are going to go see.  But I really think this trip would have been too long for her.  I guess we will just have to go again!!!

I am really looking forward to seeing my CTMH friends!!!  This will be my third cruise with CTMH and I love seeing my buddies on these trips.  It is like a big reunion!!  My friend Shannon is with me in the picture above.   She lives in Oregon and we were roomies together in Orlando at convention this summer.  I can't wait to see her again!  She and her husband Aaron are in the room right next to us on the boat, so they will be easy to find on the boat.  Can't wait to hang with them!!!!  :)


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Homeschooling Thoughts

A homeschool friend was cleaning out her supplies and gave away some old copies of a homeschooling magazine.  I was the one to grab the magazines.  One of the letters to the editor really spoke to me.  I am still processing this all, but I loved her thoughts.  

Here is her letter:

"Homeschooling is a ministry for me.  God called me to homeschool our children, and they are the ones I minister to.  If I do nothing else in my life but raise our children to be godly leaders who love the Lord Jesus and show His love and share His Word with others, I will have accomplished something wonderful.

I used to be very busy with ministries outside our home.  I sang at church.  I made the church bulletin.  I volunteered in the church office.  I was on an outreach ministry and on the missions board.

I really believe I was doing all that God wanted me to do.  But I was leaving out my husband, our children, and our home--the most important ministry that God will ever give me.

What good is a ministry if our children never see us or if our marriage slowly falls apart?  What good is a ministry if our family and home are suffering?

If we are involved in everything outside the home, will our children rise up and call us "blessed"?  (Prov. 31).  Will our husbands "praise us"?  Or will they resentfully say, "You were never there"?

I am not saying we shouldn't have outside ministries, but the most important ministry we as wives and mothers have is to our husbands and our children.

The Lord showed this to me one day as I was washing the dishes.  I was grumbling in my hear, think that I had much more important things to do than wash dishes and make dinner, dust, deal with the children, and make coffee for my husband when he came home.  But, then the Lord spoke to my heart, saying "Do this as unto Me."  I was stunned.  Wash the dishes as unto the Lord?

I realized that my attitude was not glorifying to God and that I was not honoring Him.  I was lowering the importance of the responsibilities He had given me, and I was not doing them out of love.

The Lord reminded me that He had created me for a special purpose.  He had given our children to us for a reason.  He had given me as a wife to my husband because I am perfectly suited to him.

The things I do daily -- wash dishes, home school, read books to the children, make coffee for my husband--are ministries.  They are important to God.  And my attitude is very important to Him.

If I approach the day with resentment in my heart and a wish to be somewhere else, doing something else, the children will see it.  If I don't do my best in the things the Lord has given me to do, then they will not do their best either.

I am not saying that I get excited about washing the floor, but it is a littler easier to do it when I know that it is a ministry to our family and is pleasing to the Lord.

The interesting thing is that when I gave up the ministries I had outside the home and concentrated on our home school, our children, and my husband, I found that I had a lot more joy in my heart and freedom to really enjoy what I was doing.

Our home is much happier now.  My husband is happier, our children are happier, and I am much happier.  There will be time plenty of time for other ministries when the children are grown and gone.

For now, the Lord doesn't want me to minister outside the home.  He is teaching me to minister to my family.  And it is my privilege and joy to do it."  Lisa Beaubien, Alberta, Canada

Sunday, September 21, 2008

No More Migraines and Other good things!

I mentioned earlier that my husband was drinking a nutritional beverage for his cancer battle, but I wanted to share a little bit about what it has done for me.  I started drinking it in May when my friend Anna said that it would help with energy levels.  More energy sounded really good to me!

For years, I had drug myself into the doctor asking why am I so tired all the time.  They would tell me that I was a mom, so I was supposed to be tired and that I should eat more bananas, take vitamins, and exercise.  Um, hello, how am I supposed to exercise when I am too tired to get off the couch!  They would then check my thyroid and my iron level and tell me everything was just fine.  So, I would go back to being tired all the time, sleeping in the afternoon, and working hard one week and doing nothing the next.  I hated the cycle of working hard and then crashing, but the doctors kept telling me I was fine.

So, I got a bottle of this 19 fruit juice to see if it might help with my energy level.  By day 3, I noticed I was sleeping better at night and had more energy.  I drank the first bottle, but wasn't convinced yet that it was this bottle of juice that was making a difference.  I got another one and kept feeling better.  After two months of drinking it, I realized that a lot of what I had been feeling before was PAIN!  And it was gone!!!!  The reason I didn't want to get off the couch is that it hurt to move, but I had gotten so used to it that I just thought it was exhaustion.  

I now wonder if I had/have fibromyalgia that was never diagnosed.  I have a lot of the symptoms.  I was diagnosed with IBS in college, I would get several migraines a month, brain fog, tired all the time, yet when sleeping would get poor sleep.  

This has been a miracle in a bottle for me.  I now feel rested when I wake up in the morning.  I am alert and actually coherent when I get up.  My close friends knew NOT to call me before 9 because I wasn't up and awake yet, but that has changed.  I haven't had a migraine since I started drinking it.  I don't hurt like I used to.  My skin is a lot smoother than it used to be.  My cholesterol has gone done too.  It was borderline high last year.  I had it checked after a month of drinking this amazing juice and it had gone down some.  I need to get it checked again. 

Another great thing is that I am enjoying my kids more now -  we have done a lot together this summer and I hope it only gets better this fall.   

I had a melanoma removed about 4 years ago and I am excited because the acai berry has shown in lab tests that it fights melanoma.  I feel like I don't have to worry quite so much now about that coming back.  For the past few years, I have been a hermit during the summer.  Maybe now I can get out and enjoy the sun!

I have also lost 5 pounds!  I hope a few more pounds will fall off now.  :)  

Anyway, I am singing the praises of this beverage, which means Gift from the Amazon.  It truly has been a gift to me.  I have my life back!!


Taking Time To Create

This is on one of the walls of my scrapbook room.  I ordered it from Uppercase Living.  Thanks to my friend Melissa for coming over to put it on the wall for me!  She knew that if she didn't, it wouldn't get done, and she is so right!  LOL!  Now, if only the other 8 that I have would make it on the wall.  Sigh ~

A couple of weeks ago, some friends and I got together to scrapbook.  I should have been working on my club page or some other projects that needed completed, but I had a brand new stack of fun papers from the scrapbook store that was calling my name!  I decided to create for me that night. 

Here are the results.  I used the new My Mind's Eyes papers and mixed in a lot of CTMH product with it.  I love our new Sparkles.  They now come in squares which is a fun shape to use.  The chocolate ribbon round was a perfect match, along with the Chocolate Mini Medley accents.  And the Winter buttons added some more dimention to my pages.  It was so nice to take a break from the "have to" creating of club pages and swap pages and just to create for me.  
This does show you though how behind I am on my scrapbooking.  These pictures are from 2002!  YIKES!!

These layouts all came out of the book Reflections, which is a wonderful guide book for quick and easy pages!! LOVE IT!

Creatively Yours ~~ Amy

My Other Swap Artwork -- Perfect Day

For some crazy reason, I signed up for two swaps in August and spent all of Labor Day weekend creating. In the first swap set that I posted, I did the artwork for the new Notebook paper, but for this one, my chosen paper was Perfect Day. Part of the requirements of this swap were to use the featured technique shown in the catalog for your kit. My featured technique was handsewing on our stick stock twill (fun!). It took me about 4 hours to sew for these and mine still isn't done! Maybe that will be a project for the crop I am attending next weekend.

I do love this new paper.  It works for so many themes - fall, heritage, new baby, family, and I even see Christmas in it also.  The new colors that Close to My Heart added are so pretty ~ Juniper and Tulip. 

Creatively Yours ~~ Amy

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cancer . . .stinks!

It has now been over a year since my husband was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. It's hard to believe that our family has been touched with cancer for over a year. This past year has flown by, but at times has seemed like an eternity. There are signs that things have improved over the part year. For example, last fall he would come home from work over lunch and would sleep the entire hour. He would then come home from work at night and would sleep until supper, eat, and then go back to sleep. I really felt like a single parent last fall and our house still shows it -ugh!

His last PET scan in May showed some progress. There was a lymph node that was no longer active and the other lymph nodes had gone down in activity level. The large tumor in his lung was less dense on the scan, but had not shrunk. It was about the same for activity level. We were really hoping for shrinkage. This summer, I have seen changes that he is feeling better. He has been riding his bike to work occasionally (WOW! -- not me! LOL!), which is 6 miles!!! He finished painting our house a couple of weeks ago, and the sleeping during the day and all evening has diminished. He is coaching the kid's soccer teams -- Samuel in the Spring and Olivia this fall. The only thing that hasn't changed yet is his terrible cough. Sometimes I am surprised he still has both lungs. Hopefully our neighbors on the ship will be forgiving. :)

A friend of mine recommended to us a product called MonaVie this spring. Lynn (and I) started taking it in May. This drink has 19 different fruits in it, with the main one being the acai berry. I hope that his next scan will show some progress. If this acai berry does in his body what it does in the lab, things should be good for the next scan. :) We are waiting until after the cruise for the next one, probably closer to the end of the year.

~~ Amy ~~

Acai Berry DESTROYS Cancer Cells In Lab, Univ. of Florida Study Shows

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A Brazilian berry popular in health food contains antioxidants thatdestroyed cultured human cancer cells in a recent University of Florida study, one of the first to investigate the fruit’s purported benefits.

Published today in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, “Acai berries are already considered one of the richest fruit sources of antioxidants,” Talcott said. “This study was an important step toward learning what people may gain from using beverages, dietary supplements or other products made with the berries.” He cautioned that the study, funded by UF sources, was not intended to show whether compounds found in acai berries could prevent leukemia in people.

“This was only a cell-culture model and we don’t want to give anyone false hope,” Talcott said. “We are encouraged by the findings, however. Compounds that show good activity against cancer cells in a model system are most likely to have beneficial effects in our bodies.”

Other fruits, including grapes, guavas and mangoes, contain antioxidants shown to kill cancer cells in similar studies, he said. Experts are uncertain how much effect antioxidants have on cancer cells in the human body, because factors such as nutrient absorption, metabolism and the influence of other biochemical processes may influence the antioxidants’ chemical activity.

Another UF study, slated to conclude in 2006, will investigate the effects of acai’s antioxidants on healthy human subjects, Talcott said. The study will determine how well the compounds are absorbed into the blood, and how they may affect bloodpressure, cholesterol levels and related health indicators. So far, only fundamental research has been done on acai berries, which contain at least 50 to 75 as-yet unidentified compounds.

“One reason so little is known about acai berries is that they’re perishable and are traditionally used immediately after picking,” he said. “Products made with processed acai berries have only been available for about five years, so researchers in many partsof the world have had little or no opportunity to study them.”

Talcott said UF is one of the first institutions outside Brazil with personnel studying acai berries. Besides Talcott, UF’s acai research team includes Susan Percival a professor with the food science and human nutrition department , David Del Pozo-Insfran, a doctoral student with the department and Susanne Mertens-Talcott, a postdoctoral associate with the pharmaceutics department of UF’s College of Pharmacy

Acai berries are produced by a palm tree known scientifically as Euterpe oleracea, common in floodplain areas of the Amazon River, Talcott said. When ripe, the berries are dark purple and about the size of a blueberry. They contain a thin layer of ediblepulp surrounding a large seed.

Historically, Brazilians have used acai berries to treat digestive disorders and skin conditions, he said. Current marketing efforts by retail merchants and Internet businesses suggest acai products can help consumers lose weight, lower cholesterol and gain energy.“

A lot of claims are being made, but most of them haven’t been tested scientifically,” Talcott said. “We are just beginning to understand the complexity of the acai berry and its health-promoting effects.”

In the current UF study, six different chemical extracts were made from acai fruit pulp, and each extract was prepared in seven concentrations.

Four of the extracts were shown to kill significant numbers of leukemia cells when applied for 24 hours. Depending on the extract and concentration, anywhere from about 35 percent to 86 percent of the cells died.

The UF study demonstrates that research on foods not commonly consumed in the United States is important, because it may lead to unexpected discoveries, said Joshua Bomser, an assistant professor of molecular nutrition and functional foods at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. But familiar produce items have plenty of health-giving qualities, he said.

“Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with decreased risk for many diseases, including heart disease and cancer,” said Bomser, who researches the effects of diet on chronic diseases. “Getting at least five servings a day of these items isstill a good recommendation for promoting optimal health.”

Writer Tom Nordlie, []
Stephen Talcott, []
Joshua Bomser, []

12 Days and Counting!!!!

Oh, I can't believe that there are only 12 days left to get ready to leave for EUROPE!!!!

I still can't believe that I am actually traveling to Europe and will get to see the places I have only dreamed of seeing. We leave on the 1st to head to London for two days and then on to Barcelona for two days. From Barcelona, we get on the ship the Norwegian Gem and will travel to Malta. Other ports are Pompeii, Pisa, Rome, and Nice.

We are traveling with my friends from Close to My Heart. I am very thankful for Close to My Heart for offering such a wonderful trip and also to my wonderful customers and friends. I would not be traveling if it weren't for you. :)

I know these next few days are going to fly by quickly!! I only hope that our time in Europe does NOT go by to fast. :) And to think, in 3 weeks I will have my OWN picture of the Colosseum!!!!


Friday, September 19, 2008

Last Swap set -- Perfect Day

">Here is the final artwork set from my swap. It uses the Perfect Day papers. Wendy Coffman was the artist using this paper packet. I love the new colors from Close to My Heart that this set features -- Tulip, Juniper, and Sorbet. Those are such fun names!

There is also artwork by Lisa Stenz in this slide show. She is another favorite artist of mine.


Creatively Yours ~~ Amy