Allow me to retract my previous statement….

I could also title this post, “My new addiction: scrapbooking”.  So in an earlier post, I mentioned that I don’t scrapbook.  I talked (in length) about the joys of Becky Higgins and her creation, Project Life, which I L.O.V.E.  I talked about the mess of scrapbooking and pointed to that as my main reason for not doing it.

Well, guess what?  I lied.  And I blame Becky Higgins.  🙂  You know how people say that some drugs are “gateway drugs” to much harsher drugs?  Yea, well, for me, Project Life is the “gateway drug” to real scrapbooking, complete with all the cute cardstock and papers, embellishments, alphabet stamps, loads and loads of ribbon….. 

I’m seriously addicted.  Through the Project Life site, I have discoverd Big Picture Classes, a website dedicated to scrapbooking.  There are free classes and those you pay for, and there are some self-paced projects, too.  I just recently signed up for a very cool workshop called “i.scrap”.  It’s taught by Stacy Julian, who, I’m discovering, is a long-time super scrapper and very famous in the scrapping world.  She’s so creative!  Anyway, I want to share my project with you as it is so far, but in the mean time, go to Big Picture Classes and sign up – membership is free – and you just might find a new outlet for your own creativity!!!

So, the jist of i.scrap is to take 9 “I statements” – you know, “I will…” or “I am…” or “I believe…” – and find a picture from last year that goes with each I statement.  Stacy gave us the “I statements” to use for this project.  We made our book as an 8×8 book, one picture per page, and a coordinating journaling page.  I thought I’d share before I write the journal section of each page:

I was....conflicted.

I went...crazy and back again, but I'm OK now.

I once…thought life was easier than this.

More pages later – there’s 9 layouts total, plus the title page.  Hope you enjoy these!


Extreme frustration….

So, I think my picture of the day explains how I’ve been feeling lately:


So, life has been stressful to say the least.  Those who know me will probably tell you that I’m a pretty happy and optimistic person.  I roll with the punches.  When life hands me lemons, I make a margarita on the rocks with salt thankyouverymuch.  But sometimes, I really feel like I might explode. 

I have been raised to completely trust that God will not give me more than I can handle.  And I guess I should feel honored that God thinks I’m so strong, because I’ve been given a lot of stuff to handle all at one time.  I’m dealing – not alone, mind you.  I couldn’t maintain my sanity without my faith, my family, and my friends.  I never ever ever want to try to go through life alone.  That would seriously send me over the edge. 

So, to those of you who have reached out to me to just say hello, or tell me you love me, even when you didn’t know what I was going through…  And to those of you who do know what I’m going through and you love me anyway!  And to those of you who keep me and my family in your prayers, even though things in your own life are falling apart, too…

I love you back.  And I couldn’t make it through each day without you. 

God bless.

Saturday morning quiet reflection…

It’s 9:12a.m. Saturday morning and the house is quiet with the exception of my new Jason Aldean CD, “My Kinda Party”, playing on my laptop.  🙂  I tried to sleep later but my eyes popped open at 7:37a.m. and I got tired of laying in bed around 8:30 so I just got up.  I hate that, but, oh well….  I’ll try to appreciate this rare opportunity of quiet reflection.

My mind wanders regularly.  And I let it.  I’m amazed at some of the thoughts I have, and how weird and random my imagination is sometimes.  I’ll create whole story lines in my head and just imagine little “what if’s”.  It’s kinda cool, actually.

I remember, when I was in elementary school, we were given a creative writing assignment and to this day, I still vividly remember my story.  I wrote a story about a giant mosquito who ate pickles (stay with me now…).  There was a little town who was famous for their pickles, and this giant mosquito was terrorizing them because he was eating all their pickles – plucking them right out of their gardens.  (Hey! I was in elementary school!  I didn’t know how you made pickles!)  So, all the townsfolk got this idea – there was a restaurant in town with a giant fake hamburger on top, so they took the burger down and put a giant fake pickle up there instead to lure the mosquito.  They ended up capturing him and saved the town!  Random, right? 

I see it in my daughter.  That kid has a crazy imagination, but I love when she kicks it in high gear.  You know how teachers hang kids’ classwork outside on the wall sometimes to display for the parents?  When they hang their stories, all of them are one sheet of paper…except Marley’s.  Hers is always 2 pages…with illustration…and lots of descriptive words.  🙂  Her 2nd grade teacher loved her for that – she said most kids would write something like, “The little dog ran away.”  Marley’s sentence would be more like this:  “The little brown spotted puppy would run away from the boy to chase the grey squirrel to a creek, where they would become friends and introduce themselves to the fish in the creek, then hop across the creek on the backs of the turtles…”  I remember one story she wrote started off simple enough – she and her grandparents were walking by the river.  Ok, good start.  Then she said that she saw something move in the river so she stayed behind and checked it out – and it was a shark!  And it was trying to eat her!  And she had to form a plan to capture it…and on it went from there.  Priceless.  And classic Marley.

I guess I’ve said all that to say this….  Let your imagination run wild sometimes.  Sure, as an adult, we have to think logically and make reasonable decisions.  But when you find yourself with a few moments of free time for quiet reflection, take advantage.  Pull out a pencil and some paper, or grab your laptop and open a Word document, and start writing.  Take a simple thought and expand on it.  See where your imagination takes you.  Nothing is going to be too silly or ridiculous, and nobody even has to read it but you.  You might surprise yourself.  Some of my best ideas have come from my wandering mind….

Have a great weekend!  I’m going out to conquer the world from all the giant pickle-eating mosquitos!

Happy Birthday Marley!

Today my sweet baby girl turned 9 years old!  I can’t believe how fast she is growing up.  In honor of her silly self, this is – word for word – a voicemail that she left for me Sunday night when she was spending the night at my mom’s house.

Sunday night, February 20th at 8:20pm – from Marley to me:

(all in one breath) – “Hi Mommy I wanted to call you I’m about to watch Ghost Whisperer but you can even ask Mama because we went by a train and it had 106 cars in it right?”  (Mama in the background said, “Right!”) Marley continues, very excited now, “And that’s right because it’s TRUE!  106 FREAKIN’ CARS! (Calmer now…)”Call me back cuz I love you.  And I like pie.”


Dear self at 22 – HOLD ON TIGHT!!!

So, one recent topic on the PostAWeek site was “What would you tell yourself 10 years ago?”  Well, here goes…

Dear me at 22,

Well, what can I say?  You won’t turn out the way you think – way better and way tougher than anybody gives you credit for right now.  Life is a lot harder than you imagine, but well worth the ride.  I know, you’re really excited right now because you’re engaged to be married in a few months.  I’m tempted to tell you not to go through with it, but then you’ll miss out on some seriously important life lessons, and you won’t get the most precious gift known to man – your sweet baby girl.  Oh she’s GORGEOUS!  Word of advice though: EPIDURAL.  Seriously. 

Don’t be too trusting when it’s time for some big decisions.  Make sure you listen to your gut.  Fall in love.  It’s OK!  Oh, and you’ll get a chance to go to a concert in Hawaii – GO!  Don’t pass it up – it’ll only slow the process of falling in love again.  Trust me, just go.  You’ll never hear the end of it if you don’t.  🙂

Find your faith again, and hold on tight.  You’re gonna need it. 

Don’t try to perfect, just always be true to yourself.

That’s it, I guess.  No details – it’s more fun to find out for yourself.  God Bless! 


Kirsten at 32

It’s a family thing…

So, I’m all crafty lately and wanted to share one of the projects I’m working on.  Yesterday my Project Life kit came (YAY!) but it’s for 2011.  I started a 2010 album a couple weeks ago based on the ideas behind Project Life and I’m loving it.  🙂  I normally do a digital album on Shutterfly, but for 2010 I decided to do something more scrapbook-y (yea, that’s a word – look it up).  So, here’s what I am working on:

First, I found a big photo album that has room to add pages – got it in a pretty bright green – and I bought that “Family” sticker in the scrapbook section:

I gathered all my goodies together before I started working – the album, some cute month-by-month stickers, a book of seasonal scrapbook paper, a corner rounder, scissors, a ruler, a straight-edge cutter, Sharpie’s, and note stickers:

I laid out my pictures, arranging them so that I left one or two slots open per layout to put notes about each event, and I rounded the corners of the pictures as I went.  Then I started making mini scrapbook pages, 4×6 like my pictures, to describe the events in the pictures:


I’m still working on it – I’ve only used pictures from the first half of 2010 – and I’m going to go back and redo some of the description sections, but I’m liking what I see so far.  It’s fun to go through it and see what I’ve done.  My daughter Marley made the picture for the cover:

I’ll post more pictures as I do more work on it.  And I have a cool idea involving ribbon (love!) to finish it off.  🙂

The thing is…

So, as you can see by the little badge over to the right –> I’m participating in the Post A Week 2011, which means that at least once a week, I’ll blog about one of the topics posted on that blog.  This is the first week that I’m participating, and I really like the topic that was posted the other day:  What’s the most important thing you’re putting off?

Well, I’ve been tossing around the idea of starting a business for quite some time.  This time last year, I actually sat down over the course of several weeks and devoured an incredible book called “The Boss of You” by Lauren Bacon & Emira Mears.  I have a full spiral bound notebook of ideas and business stuff that I wrote while reading this book.  I’ve read so many blogs and books about starting my own business, I’ve researched other businesses similar to what I want to do, I’ve made countless notes and have a billion ideas.  And the only thing holding me back is fear.

I’m terrified.  The sad part is, I can’t even allow myself to be terrified of failure because I’m too terrified to even make the attempt!  The business that I want to start is something that will require a lot of my time because it’s something that requires a lot of creativity and hands-on crafting skills, as well as photography and editing.  Also, my target market would be higher income families, which means I’d have to spend some serious dollars on marketing.  I just got out of debt a year ago so I’m terrified of getting back into debt trying to do something amazing.

Anyway, that’s the most important thing.  I really have every intention of getting the business off the ground.  I feel like every day that I go to work and sit in my office is a day wasted.  I can’t be creative and crafty at my current job.  I have so many ideas that are just bursting to get out!  I plan on spending a good deal of time at the beginning of this year working on a real solid business plan and trying to move this “idea” into more of a “real business”.  I’ve got to stop being afraid and just take one baby step at a time. 

In the meantime, this is my motivation.  My drive.  My determination.  My reason for being.  I love her more than I ever imagined was possible.  No matter how crazy life gets (and it definitely does!) and no matter how stressful my job is (today was really crazy), she always brings me back to Earth and reminds me to just have fun!

An A+ Day

My sweet Marley brought home another straight-A report card today!  She’s one of those smart kids.  🙂  We had fun tonight, too.  Mom brought over some fresh home-made banana pudding (YUM!) and we played a game of Cranium.  So fun! 


Hey, in case you haven’t thought about it yet –> it’s time to start thinking about summer camps.  Atlanta Parent is hosting the Summer Camp Expo – there’s 3 chances to go.  This weekend it’s at North Point Mall in Alpharetta Saturday from 11-4.  If you can’t get there, you can go to Town Center Mall in Kennesaw on Feb. 13th or Perimeter Mall on March 19th.  Mark, Marley and I are going Saturday so we’ll report back to let you know how it is. 



As I wrote yesterday, I’m in the process of reassessing my goals, vision, future, etc.  I’m not the type to make New Year’s resolutions or any such nonsense because I never stick to them.  But I do get myself stuck in a rut from time to time, and I get antsy and need a change or perspective.  So, since my senseless wanderings sometimes turn into good ideas, I’ve decided to keep up with said wanderings here on my blog.  Yea, it says “photo blog” but I don’t always feel the need to post pictures. 

Since I’m in the mood to blog more often, I’ve decided to join the “Post a Week 2011” that WordPress is setting up.  It’s pretty cool, I must say.  Somebody else comes up with ideas of things to write about, and it inspires people to blog.  It will keep me, and anyone else participating, from getting stuck in a rut.  Cool, huh? 

So basically, my goal is to write more often.  I’ll post pictures from time to time, sometimes from my Photo A Day, sometimes other things that catch my attention.  I spent a little time early in 2010 writing articles for Examiner as the (clears throat to sound official) “Atlanta Northside Family Entertainment Examiner” but I really didn’t have the time to do all the research for my articles and post them, especially when you don’t really get paid (much).  So I think I’ll incorporate some of that general feeling to this blog as well.  If there’s something cool going on in the Atlanta area for families, I’ll let you know about it.  If I go, I’ll tell you how it was – and probably post pictures! 

If I’m working on a cool craft (like my Family Album of 2010) I’ll share that, too…with pictures.  If I’m cooking something uber-fabulous that looks scrumptious, I’ll post that, too.

You get the idea. 

Twice a week at least.  That’s the goal.  I promise they won’t all be random thoughts of a wandering mind, like this post.  I just want you to know what I’ll be working on. 

I’ll end with this:  Don’t take life too seriously.  You’ll miss all the cool stuff going on.  Try to be more like Dakota, one of my dogs.  She knows how to RELAX!  LOL!

I’m still here…

I have diligently stuck to my 365 Project for 2011.  I just haven’t been diligently posting to my blog.  But I hope to change that.  I’m reassessing my life, my focus, my drive, and my goals.  Part of that reassessment has led me to do a different kind of 365 – more of a “Day in the life…” kinda thing.  I’m not going for artsy or creative or anything like that.  I want to capture my life, and those involved in it, one day at a time. 

I was inspired by Becky Higgins a.k.a Scrapbook and Creative Guru.  Yea, I gave her that name just now.  🙂  Seriously, if you’ve never heard of her, you’re missing out.  She is an incredibly talented woman, and so organized!  I {heart} organization.  For real.  Which is why I {heart} everything about Becky Higgins’ Project Life

So, let me just say this:  I don’t scrapbook.  As I mentioned, I love to be organized.  And when I think about scrapbooking, it doesn’t scream “organization” to me.  It screams (at the top of it’s lungs) disorder and chaos and paper scraps and stickers and memorabilia everywhere….  I digress.  Anywho, Becky takes scrapbooking and makes it not only EASY but (could it be??) ORGANIZED!!!  For all the scrapbooking-wannabe’s out there (me! me!) Project Life is the way to go.  It’s already kinda put together (sorta) but you still get the freedom to make it your own.  And you document your life ONE. DAY. AT. A. TIME.  How COOL!!!  Becky made these cool 3-ring binders and insert pages that are made to just slide in a 4×6 picture, one per day, and little note cards that allow you to document each day.  You just have to decide how often to print and put it together – once a week or once a month, whatever works for you. 

The good (read: AWESOME) news is, Project Life ROCKS.  The not-so-good (read: REALLY TERRIBLE, but only temporarily terrible) news is, Project Life is sold out right now.  Boo.  But, have no fear.  She’s ordered more and they’re on their way to Amazon and then to my doorstep – and yours, too.  {You know you want one, right?}

So, I digress…again.  The whole point of telling you about Becky Higgins and her awesome creation was to say this:  I’ve decided to do a Photo of the Day to document my life as I live it.  I’m hoping to snag my very own Project Life book as soon as they become available again…  Or I might make my own.  Who knows?  It might get a little crazy!!

Also, I normally make a digital photo book of my absolute favorite photo site Shutterflyevery year.  {LOVE LOVE LOVE Shutterfly}  Anyway, I make a year book every year, filling it with all of my favorite photos from my family event’s.  I usually spend way too much time on the computer putting it together, it ends up being the maximum 100 pages in an 8×8 format….  Then it takes me several months to actually buy it because I don’t feel like spending almost $200 to have it printed.  But once I have it, it’s GORGEOUS.  I made my wedding albums on Shutterfly, and I’ve made 7 other photo books…so yea, I dig ’em.

But, after checking out Becky Higgin’s and her Project Life, I set out to do something different for 2010.  Since I didn’t do a Photo of the Day last year, and since her Project Life is currently sold out, I made my own!  I’ll share my how-to’s and photos soon.  But it’s been incredibly refreshing and I am SO excited with how it’s turning out.  And guess what?  It’s ORGANIZED!!  It’s not chaos or messy or anything like that.  It’s simply…beautiful.

So, thanks Becky Higgin’s for your inspiration and fresh ideas.  Ever since the dawn of digital, I’ve printed less and I really miss pictures.  I love just thumbing through pictures.  So I promised myself to print more, and edit less.  Just enjoy the moments, and capture them.