Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge

Tomorrow is the big day - Day 1 of the Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge.  I had planned to have all my posts written and ready to publish daily but you know what sometimes happens even when you have the best plan.  I have Day 1 - Letter A - ready to go and the rest will follow, I assure you!

I'm going to suspend all other blog posts, apart from Life Last Week, until after the challenge so get ready to enjoy the beauty of Washington.

Photo Courtesy of Summit Post
Disclaimer: My photos will be included for the places I have visited so far, but for the places we have not yet explored, I'll have to borrow from the trusty Internet.

Here's the schedule:

Monday, March 30, 2015

Life Last Week 2015-13

It was lovely to have Sophia home for Spring Break last week and although we had a few things on the calendar, we spent most of the time having a Game of Thrones marathon and talking endlessly about the apartment she will move into for the next school year.  I think I've mentioned before that living in the residence hall/dormitory has been fine, but the dining options have been rather grim.  She will enjoy having her own kitchen and has been making menus as she is on quite a strict budget so meal planning and shopping from a grocery list will be important.  I'm so proud of her, she really is quite organized (where does she get that from?).

After my trip to Best Buy last Monday to get my computer checked out, I stopped at another meeting for the upcoming COMPASS - Navy 101 for spouses course - session which will take place this week.  I'm observing the segments (Introduction, History, Benefits, Finances, Moving, Local Insights, Deployment, and Communication) as I don't feel quite ready to present one yet.  I'm helping with food (we provide breakfast and lunch for the three days) which for me means stopping to pick up muffins.  I am still not quite sure how involved I want to be with this group; I'll know more after this week.

Sophia got her grades for winter quarter which were quite disappointing.  We won't be putting that in the family Christmas newsletter.  The quarter was a tough one and she felt like she had studied well but the results did not reflect that.  She's never really been a test-taker and it's so much harder when the subject matter doesn't interest you.  They say that your worst grades come in your first quarter when you are getting used to college life but in her case, it was the second quarter.  She passed so it will be onward and upward for this new quarter.

Back to the dentist on Wednesday for two fillings (replace one and another small one) which went very well.  My dentist is wonderful.  Home for March's Rudolph Day - finally got back into the swing of a monthly Christmas planning day which you can read all about here.

Hair appointment on Friday - my hairdresser is wonderful as well.  After trying two other stylists at the salon, I finally got an appointment with the one who was always booked.  She's amazing and although she charges more than the others, it is so worth it. I made my next appointment before I left because I always forget and then when my fringe is in my eyes, I call to make an appointment and find there is nothing available for the next two weeks!

Sophia and I went to a Military Appreciation Day event at the fairgrounds on Saturday morning - lots of vendors, lots of information, lots of free pens and reusable grocery bags.  We stopped at Costco on the way home to pick up a few more groceries for Sophia, dropped them at home, and then headed out again for the Navy Wives Clubs of America Emergency Preparedness Event which was fun and informative.  We should all know what to do when pandemic influenza comes to our neck of the woods.

Sophia was up early yesterday to catch the 8:40am ferry and she was back at school by 10:30am - first time driving all the way by herself.  I know she's 21 but I'm her mother, it's my job to worry.  Motherhood comes with a lifetime of worrying.  She got her car unloaded and went over to the bookstore to pick up her books for the spring quarter ($622 for books for THREE classes - can you believe it? No cheaper option as each text comes with a CD needed for the class and they cannot be purchased used.)  She texted me later in the evening to say she was up to Section 1.3 in her Biology book.

Had a nice FaceTime session with Vic yesterday which is always lovely.  It was a gloomy day so that brought in a little sunshine.

Busy week this week and should have lots of photos to share as I'm off on a Ladies of Leisure outing, weather permitting. I've also got to get cracking on my A to Z Challenge as I neglected to work on my posts last week and must catch up. I also had a browse through a few of my old scrapbooks and really like the way they look so I think I'm abandoning the digital idea.  Still organizing my supplies so I'll know better when I get everything ready to go.  Have a great week!

Friday, March 27, 2015

5 on Friday

1. I am in mourning - Season 6 of Downton Abbey will be the last.

2. Every black cloud has a silver lining - this Sunday brings the return of Mr. Selfridge (Season 3) and Call the Midwife (Season 4).  I know I covered this in a post earlier this week but this is a reminder so you don't miss them.  Fabulous British TV, both of them.

3. I've been asked to review a book - stay tuned for more details.  I am so excited!

4. The Ladies of Leisure are off to the Tulip Festival, providing the weather cooperates.  Scenes of glorious blooms to be featured here soon.

5. I'm through week one of the Whole 30 and still going strong.  The next size down jeans almost fit.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

March Rudolph Day Report

Did you have a Rudolph Day?  Mine started late on account of my dentist appointment. My new dentist is wonderful; super-conscious of my anxiety and very gentle.  I left there very numb but with everything resolved (I should say Part One of Three resolved as I have a few more visits ahead of me - never, never, never neglect to go the dentist regularly). As soon as I got home, I clicked on The Bishop's Wife that I bought from Amazon Instant Video.

I'd never seen it before and I am most definitely adding it to my collection as it was delightful.  Loretta Young is absolutely stunning; Cary Grant and David Niven in the same movie is always a good combination and I love Gladys Cooper.

Organized Christmas' March Rudolph Club Meeting post had some great ideas.

March Assignment: Birthday Buying Strategy - I have to agree that spreading the cost over a longer period is a big plus.  I don't buy too many birthday/holiday gifts outside of my immediate family but this might be an interesting way to approach those I do buy.

Care and Share: Stock up on Cards - This is definitely a good one and a great reminder as I have a Hallmark discount coupon in my purse right now that expires March 31.  Off to Hallmark I go to stock up.  I have one of these card organizer boxes and I love it.

I also have a great birthday book that belonged to my Mum that has everyone's birthdays listed in it (I added to it since I got it from Mum).  I need to mark my calendar to check for upcoming birthdays and get cards in the mail.  I love to get a card in the mail, so I'm sure others do too.  I end up forgetting to do this and shooting off a quick e-mail or Facebook greeting instead.  Rudolph Day is a great day to check the following month's celebrants especially as several of my friends are overseas and getting cards in the mail around the 25th will mean that they will get to those who have early-in-the-month birthdays.

Reminder: Holiday Letter Entry - Must.do.this.  So much easier just to put my monthly notes into an annual letter rather than try to remember everything that has happened during the year in November.

Frugal Finds: St Patrick's Day and Easter Treats - Love this!  Love, love, love a bargain!

Here's the craft project I chose for March - a layered circle ornament I found on All Things Paper:

I love it because I have so much patterned paper and I really thought it could be used for any special occasion.  I could find collegiate or hobby paper and make gifts for friends, or baby paper, or wedding paper, the possibilities are endless.  I also have quite a few round ornaments left over from Christmas; I made them for a luncheon and since several people did not show up, I can easily adhere the circles over the design on the ornaments therefore not having to buy new ones.  I'll post a photo when I get one done. Unfortunately, I didn't feel quite up to working on this today but I'll keep it in my file and try to get one done soon.

See you on April 25th!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Rudolph Day

What's Rudolph Day? Here is the definition according to Organized Christmas:
A few years ago, members of our Christmas community began to observe "Rudolph Day" on the 25th of each month.
On that day, we take a few moments to plan some simple tasks for the month ahead, in order to get ready for Christmas Day with plenty of time to spare. By starting early--and working a bit at a time on each month's Rudolph Day--it's easy to prepare for Christmas, save money on gifts, and cut holiday stress.
Those who know me well know that I love Christmas! I love everything about it and I start planning months in advance.  In the past few years, I've really benefited from having a more organized plan.  It's been a while since I have participated in a Rudolph Day (2012) and there used to be several sites that I read regularly but some are no longer active.  I have also found several different approaches to themes for each month so I think I'll follow along with Organized Christmas because their blog is awesome, but I'll have a sub-theme in certain months which has been taken from some of the other lists I've read.  This will be a work in progress as I tweak what works best.

Here's the annual line-up with the sub-theme in parentheses:

January - Tie Up Loose Ends (gather ideas and organize your Christmas notebook)
February - Begin a Holiday Letter
March - Birthday Gift-Buying Strategy (party planning for the holiday season)
April - Plan Holiday Crafts 
May - Catalog Shopping Tips
June - Recipe Round Up
July - Choose a Holiday Plan (Christmas in July celebration)
August - Craft Control (thinking ahead to Elf on the Shelf)
September - Prepare for Holiday Gifts and Giving
October - Plan Holiday Meals
Novemeber - Write Holiday Letter

The bottom line is...prepare for Christmas by doing something every month and make the 25th of each month a Rudolph Day by doing something Christmasy!

If you want some great ideas and great conversation, check out the Magical Holiday Home Forums and scroll down to Special Days --> Rudolph Day.  I'll have a wrap-up of the day's activities on Thursday.

If this is Tuesday, it must be England #16

Super excited for the return of Mr. Selfridge.  Season 3 starts on Sunday.  Check out an exclusive scene from Episode 1 here.

And...Season 4 of Call the Midwife premieres before Mr. Selfridge.  It's going to be an amazing Sunday!

Life Last Week 2015-12

I feel like a chicken without a head - I'm running in a dozen different directions, accomplishing nothing but I need to get this post up or there will be nothing from me this week - it's just one of those weeks.

Last week seems to have gone by in a blur.  Not much on the calendar but I still didn't get much accomplished.  Eye exam on Tuesday confirmed that I definitely need new reading glasses  and dentist appointment on Thursday (after too long of an absence - you know my dentophobia) confirmed a couple of cavities but overall good dental health and the cleaning was pretty stress-free.  Both the hygienist and the dentist were super gentle and so nice.  One problem area resulting from a lot of work done on a tooth years ago needs to be looked at by an endodontist - they are thinking root canal, I am thinking please, no, anything but that.

Sophia came home on Wednesday night.  She drove from school - first time by herself although she did have a companion in the car, one of the boys from her dorm who lives near us.  He did sleep most of the trip so it was pretty much like driving on her own.  I've got this eerie feeling that I've told you all this before - flipped over to my blog and yes, 5 on Friday pretty much covered it.  Sorry, will have to make 5 on Friday more generic to avoid saying the same thing twice.

On Friday, I went to the local gym for a consultation.  I'm on a 30 day free trial to see if I like it.  Consultation was good - trainer recommended two days cardio on the treadmill and three days strength training with the weight machines so five days a week total.  Have I been back since then?  No, let's face it, I hate to exercise.  I may just go back to walking the dog.  I didn't really like the gym; it was small and just not my kind of place.  Again, pretty much anywhere one finds exercise equipment is not my kind of place.  I wish, I wish I had my old stair-climber back - it sat in the corner of the bedroom, not taking up too much space, and I used it regularly.  I could hop on in my pajamas if I wanted to.  I need to find something like that.  I feel like I have to take a shower and wash my hair to go to the gym because I wake up with such a bed head and then I have to take another shower when I get home even though my workout is not that strenuous.  Good grief, such first-world problems.

The weekend was another blur - Vic sorted and packed, Sophia sneezed and coughed.  Yes, she's picked up whatever germs Vic has spread around the house as he's still not 100%.  I dosed them both with Nyquil on Friday and Saturday and we'll hope for the best.

Yesterday I ran to Best Buy to get my computer looked at as I thought I had been hacked.  I couldn't get into my Facebook and Sophia thought I had been hacked so I hurriedly changed my password and got a text alert (I set up text alerts for any Facebook changes) that a change had been made to my account from a location on the East Coast.  What was going on?  Best Buy Geek Squad said I was fine; the odd location was the location of my Internet provider.  No-one has reported any strange communications from me so I think my inability to get into Facebook must have been a slow moment on our Internet and I was just too impatient to wait it out.  Whew (sigh of relief)!

Whole 30 is going good.  I've been trying to track my food via My Fitness Pal but since the eating plan is higher in protein and fat, it keeps telling me I'm over my daily recommended intake so I think I'm going to abandon the tracking.  Having a hard time drinking all the water; it's cold and gloomy outside and although I'm not complaining about the weather, it does make drinking water harder.

I completely spaced out on the A to Z April Blogging Challenge Reveal yesterday so here it is: Washington.  Thought I'd write about places we've explored and places we'd like to explore.  Must get busy and get some posts in the works or I'll be up until midnight every night in April scrambling to keep up.  Maybe I've bitten off more than I can chew.  I know for certain that I won't make it through the list of participating blogs - there are over 1100 of them!  I think I'll just pace myself and enjoy posting.

As for scrapbooking...don't get me started, I'm so overwhelmed.  Read a post about designing pages online and having them printed out so you can just slip them into top-loading sleeves and I think I'm sold.  I see lots of scrapbooking supplies going up on Ebay soon.

Have a good week!

Friday, March 20, 2015

5 on Friday

New feature for Fridays - the week got away with me and it's going to be a busy weekend so I wanted to put up a quick post. Click on the button above if you want to join in.

1.  Sophia is home!  Yippee!  She made the drive herself this time and it was fine.  Yes, she's 21 and I shouldn't be worried about her driving - I'm not, honestly, it's the other people on the road I worry about!  She had company in the form of one of her dormmates who lives nearby but apparently, he slept most of the trip so it was like being on her own.  There were lots of hugs and kisses for MudLynn and then she plopped down to enjoy some of Mom's home cooking, even if it was leftovers.

2.  Finally returning to the dentist yesterday.  For those of you who know me well, you know that I have a morbid fear of the dentist - always have, always will - but it was time (it's been too long).  The hygienist and dentist were amazing and work really well with cowards like me.  Overall report was not too bad after such a long absence but there's one spot that an endodontist needs to check out for a possible root canal.  Not the result of my long absence, more an issue with a tooth that's had a lot of work and has probably had enough!

3.  Ran around gathering the documents Sophia needed to apply for an apartment.  She would like to move out of the dorm and into her own place next year.  Residence hall living has been fine but the dining hall experience has been a challenge and she would really like to have a kitchen of her own.  She found the perfect place - great location, everything she wants - and when an ad came up on Zillow, she jumped on it.

4.  I'm back on the Whole 30 clean eating - been having a lot of aches and pains lately that completely disappeared when we were on the Whole 30 last fall.  There is a direct link between what you eat and inflammation and I can swear to it.  Looking forward to sleeping better, having more energy, losing the aches and pains, and some pounds as well.

5.  Along with the Whole 30, I took out a 30 day trial membership at the gym down the street and I'm off for a consultation this afternoon.  If I like it (ie. if everyone else in the gym is NOT a size 2), I'll get a membership for Vic and I so we can work out together.

And that's my 5 on Friday - have a great weekend!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Life Last Week 2015-11

We're starting to return to the land of the living.  Poor Vic, he had to trek off to work every day last week sniffing and coughing, armed with Fisherman's Friend as his only solace as he won't take anything when he's working.  I dosed him well with Nyquil this weekend and he pretty much spent both days in his pajamas and got some well-deserved rest.

It was a quiet week last week with only a few things on the calendar.  Craft Club on Tuesday was another semi-waste of time; one person showed up but as she was a fairly new spouse (I met her at the last meeting but as there were two presentations, there wasn't much time to chat), we got to know each other better and that was fun.  Wednesday was a double duty day - COMPASS Mentor Training in the morning (COMPASS is like Navy 101 for spouses) which was relatively painless - just a quick review of the basics and what is expected of a mentor and then a copious binder to read on your own.  In the afternoon, I headed over to the Federal Government's Human Resources office to drop off my paperwork so let's see if they can find me a job.  I briefly mentioned the Military Spouse Priority Placement Program in my last Life Last Week post so I thought I'd give it a try.  The fact that Vic will be gone so much this year and next year coupled with the prospect of maybe moving overseas made me think that a fat travel fund would be lovely so a job would help me to build it up.  There's a bit of a backlog as there are a lot of applications for the program, but I hope to hear something in the next few weeks or so.

Thursday night was the ship's information night, a chance to make sure you have your family plan in order for when your sailor is gone and a chance to find out when they will be gone.  Here's the schedule...lol, just kidding, that's an absolute no-no in our world, Loose Lips Sink Ships has now moved into the new millennium with Loose Tweets Sink Fleets but the rules are the same, no specifics on the ship's upcoming schedule in a public forum!  I'll tell you a lot about where Vic has been, but nothing about where he is going.  Gone are the days when ships' schedules were common knowledge, it's all about security these days and rightly so.

And that was it for the week - lots of chicken soup, Nyquil, Dayquil, blankets, and snoozing off and on over the weekend.  Looking forward to a better week this week.

I'm off to finish up an episode of the Great British Bake Off - I discovered the Masterclasses in which Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood show us the correct way to bake up the technical challenges and showstoppers that were featured on the show.  Can't wait until I have a decent kitchen for experimenting with some of their recipes.

I popped all this in the CrockPot this morning so that we'll have To Die For CrockPot Roast for dinner.  It's going to start smelling fabulous in this house about midday.

Have a lovely week!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Back Soon

There's a whole lot of this going on in our household right now.  Be back in a few days.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Life Last Week 2015-10

Just a few events on the calendar last week which was a good thing because Vic and I were still car-sharing.  Tuesday was the monthly meeting of my local spouses' group and we had great speakers from the Chaplains' office (lots of great information on marriage and personal enrichment retreats coming up) and from the Military Spouse Priority Placement Program (in case anyone is thinking about looking for work).  Thursday night was the first Hail and Farewell in several months.  The ship's Wardroom gets together to say Hail to the new officers reporting onboard and Farewell to those leaving.  We met at a local tavern that had great root beer (for us) among many other brews on tap and yummy barbecue (beef brisket to die for!) and had a very enjoyable evening.  I met Vic's Department Head for the first time so it's nice to put a face to the name he's been talking about for the last two months.

Saturday was a busy day for both of us.  We convoyed to the auto repair shop to drop Vic's truck off and then he dropped me at my meeting and headed off to work.  I belong to the local chapter of the Navy Wives Clubs of America (NWCA) and we had our regular monthly meeting and then a Meet & Greet event to spread the word about our organization. The purpose of NWCA is to unite all sea service enlisted wives into bonds of mutual friendship, assistance and welfare for their families, bases, and communities in which they live.  Although regular membership is limited to wives and widows of enlisted active duty, reserve, and retired sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen, associate membership is open to those who are interested in the objectives and aims of NWCA (that would be me).  Our big project every year is fundraising for Wreaths Across America, with the goal of laying a wreath on the grave of every veteran in over 1000 cemeteries nationwide.

The Meet & Greet had only a few new spouses in attendance but that's how we are growing, slowly but surely.  The organization has been around since 1936 (hence the term "wives" instead of "spouses") but I'm surprised at how few people know about it.  I learned about it only about four years ago as there always seem to be a myriad of other spouse organizations to join but this one is unique in that it is a national organization so wherever the Navy/Marine Corps/Coast Guard takes you, you can find a local chapter (or be a Member at Large if there isn't a chapter near you) and connect with other spouses right away.  It's been my experience that when we arrive in a brand-new area, usually knowing no-one, until Vic reports to his command and finds out if there is a spouse group or a Family Readiness Group, I find myself searching for the information and going cold turkey to a meeting where I know no-one and don't know what to expect.  Although the experience has pretty much been positive each time, it would have been so nice to connect with a group before I arrived in the new area and have resources to turn to if I have questions.  That being said, Facebook has opened up this opportunity somewhat as spouses in many areas have a group that you can join.  That was the case here in Washington and I am very grateful to our local group.  We found our rental house on the group and I was able to ask questions to prepare us for this area.

Back to the Meet & Greet, yummy food, fun games, great prizes, what more can I say?  Vic picked me up and as his truck was not ready yet, we headed home to wait for the call to pick it up which came just before 6:00pm.  New radiator, new radiator hoses, ouch, that made a dent in the budget, but never mind, it was less than we expected so we headed out to dinner.  I should back up a little to Friday when Vic brought home the list of possible new assignments.  I know we've only been here six months but with his schedule, getting penciled in for something now would be great and one less thing to worry about as his schedule gets even crazier in the months to come.  So, top three on the list are Italy, Spain and Guam - how exciting is that!  I tell you this now so that you can understand what a great dinner we had on Saturday night with those options as our topic of conversation.  We headed over to our local tapas bar (immersing ourselves in the Mediterranean already!) and had a fabulous array of dishes to delight the palate.  I am sorry I didn't take photos but I will next time.  I thought tapas was Spanish for "little bites" or something like that but no, according to trusty Wikipedia, it means "to cover".
According to The Joy of Cooking, the original tapas were the slices of bread or meat which sherry drinkers in Andalusian taverns used to cover their glasses between sips. This was a practical measure meant to prevent fruit flies from hovering over the sweet sherry. The meat used to cover the sherry was normally ham or chorizo, which are both very salty and activate thirst. Because of this, bartenders and restaurant owners began creating a variety of snacks to serve with sherry, thus increasing their alcohol sales. The tapas eventually became as important as the sherry.
We began with roasted mixed olives and marinated Manchego cheese.  I had Manchego at a Spanish luncheon I went to in Norfolk and loved it.  Vic is not much of a cheese eater but he really enjoyed it too.  Then came clams with chorizo, sea bass skewers with salsa verde and roasted pepper coulis, focaccia bread for scooping up the sauces, salmon mousse with crostini, and the best tasting calamari a la planche.  A couple of glasses of sparking wine for me and soft drinks for my designated driver, and lots of lovely conversation about Italy, Spain, and Guam made for a very enjoyable evening.  Just in case you think that we had to roll ourselves out of the restaurant after that lot, let me go back to the "little bites" reference and tell you that that's exactly what they were - a few bites of each item. 

Up early on Sunday and off to work for Vic for a few hours to train one of his crew on something, a new piece of equipment I think.  I hopped out of bed and got straight on the phone with my friend in Naples (nine hour time difference so it was late afternoon for her) to get the Everything You Need to Know about Living in Naples lowdown.  Three hours later, I am so ready to go!  Where's my passport?  Fingers crossed, good news coming soon.  It was another gorgeous day here in the Pacific Northwest so we took a short drive up to the Point No Point Lighthouse and walked around for a bit and drove past some houses with spectacular views.

Sitting on piece of driftwood on the beach with the lighthouse behind us
The Lighthouse Keeper's Cottage which is a vacation rental
Home for lunch and an afternoon of miscellaneous jobs and that was the end of another weekend.

Welcome to my new follower, Robyn, from After the Honeymoon, please click over and say hello.  I hope you all have a lovely week!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Friday Favorites

I haven't done a Friday Favorites post in a while but since my daughter called last night to say her March care package arrived, I thought I'd blog about that.  If you're a new reader, you won't know that our daughter is in college about three hours away.  I came up with the idea of sending a monthly themed care package of a few things that she might need along with bits and pieces that I thought she would enjoy.  I really enjoyed coming up with the themes.  So far we've had Halloween (October), Movie Night (November), 12 Days of Elf on the Shelf from Afar (December - only 12 days that month before Christmas break), Frozen (January), Valentine's Day (February) and now St. Patrick's Day for March.

I've picked up most of my care package ideas from Pinterest - there are so many cute options, I need more months in the year!  I took two pieces of 12 x 12 inch scrapbook paper and cut them in half to line the inside of the box flaps which was super easy but adds another celebratory dimension and then I set off down the aisles of the grocery store to find green things.  You can see Tic Tacs, Lifesavers Mints, and Andes Chocolate Mints at the top of the box.  The box on the far left is Nonni's Thin Additives, thin biscotti-like treats that have the added bonus of pistachios (Sophia loves pistachios) and being in a green box.

They are really scrummy as Mary Berry would say (yes, I've had another morning of the Great British Bake Off!).  I also added a big bag of pistachios, as well as a box of Kleenex with a green design, a package of green paper plates, Pepperidge Farm Mint Chocolate Milano cookies, and in the yellow and green package at the top there, some sort of Sour Patch treats that I know Sophia also enjoys (they are a tart gummy-type snack).  There was a pair of shamrock-design socks as well.  Sophia loves socks.  At the bottom were the new license plates for her car in the Western design as well as two French books from home as she has a French class next quarter.

A little bit of the green for my wee one for the month of March.  Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Wednesday Whimsy

Today is my day!  According to the great list of Days, Dates, and Things to do for March put up by Lulu over at Lost Thoughts, today is International Scrapbook Industry Day.  It's a day to celebrate preserving your memories, traditionally or digitally, for years to come and all of the fabulous products that are available to help you do this.

For years, I was a Creative Memories scrapbooker.  I loved their products but the company fell on hard times and shifted gears somewhat to the Ahni & Zoe focus, a format wherein page layouts were already designed for you which I liked less.  I had stockpiled quite a stash of supplies (albums, pages, and the protectors that go over the pages) but I did wonder what I was going to do when they ran out.  Along comes Our Memories for Life, spearheaded by one of the founders of the original Creative Memories company and part of the Youngevity/Heritage Makers group (I'm still a little vague on the relationship between Our Memories for Life, Heritage Makers, and Youngevity but all I really need to know is that products are available for me to order).  I should mention that Creative Memories has been reborn as CM so now I have two choices for supplies.

Here is part of my collection.  I've had to expand to a bigger cabinet as I complete more albums and I still have a lot to do.  On the top shelf are Sophia's Baby albums (pink), followed by some of the Family albums (they have a little house on the top of the spine).  Some years, we can get away with one volume but in other years, it has stretched to as many as three.  On the right side of the top shelf are the green Christmas Card albums as I have saved every card we have received (along with photos and family newsletters) since 1994.  The second shelf is more Family albums, followed by the third shelf which is a mixture of Special albums (Family Reunion 2004, Mackinac Island trip 2002, Kettlewell 2001, and Duns Castle, also 2001).  The navy blue albums on the third shelf with the compass on the top of the spine are Vic's Career albums, followed by more Christmas Card albums, and the fourth shelf holds Sophia's School albums and more Christmas Card albums.

I'm a traditional scrapbooker, using cardstock and stickers to develop my layouts.  There are a lot of resources online (Pinterest is an amazing resource for layout ideas) as well as scrapbook magazines, idea books, and classes and retreats to learn and share new ideas.  I dabbled in digital scrapbooking, but prefer traditional as I always have a large quantity of memorabilia to include such as tickets, programs, brochures, etc.

I love to scrapbook; it's my down time, something I can do while I'm watching a movie or something I can do with a group because that's one of the best ways to find new ideas, and I love being able to pick up an album and relive one of my family's favorite places or events.

Do you scrapbook?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

If this is Tuesday, it must be England #14

Season 5 ends and although we know that there will be a Season 6, the words Coming In January make it seem like a lifetime away
Hard to imagine Downton without Tom and Sybbie
Hoping that the "Diana Clark" storyline is expanded - tsk, tsk, Lord Sinderby!
Love this photo - the tweeds are fabulous - and who can forget Barrow 1, Stowell 0?  Can't wait for the Spratt/Denker scoreboard either!
Are you a Downton fan?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Life over the Last two Weeks 2015-8 & 9

First, I must say that although life has been just about the same level of crazy as always, my time has been further consumed by my addiction to The Great British Bake Off.

Season 5 is currently running on our public television station and I was thrilled to find Seasons 1 through 4 on You Tube.  Unfortunately, my housework, cooking, and blogging has suffered accordingly.  I have managed, however, to keep up with the laundry so we are not walking around naked!

As I left off two weeks ago, Sophia was home for my birthday weekend (rather a big birthday this year as I am now, drum roll, eligible to eat off the Senior Menu is most places - very happy that my sense of humor has not waned over the years).  We spent the day (Monday was a holiday in honor of my birthday...just kidding, it was Presidents' Day here in the USA) browsing and eating our way through Bainbridge Island and downtown Poulsbo and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  We ate crepes for lunch and browsed through Churchmouse Yarns & Teas - although I am hopeless at any type of yarn craft, I do love to look at the wool.

Strawberry-Nutella Crepes for dessert
Beautiful soft yarn
It was up early and back to business on Tuesday morning.  Vic went off to work while Sophia, MudLynn, and I hit the ferry and headed back up to Bellingham with a stop on the way to get Sophia a new ID card.  She can keep her military benefits for another couple of years while she is a full-time student.  I dropped her off and headed home and enjoyed a couple of days getting the house back in order.  I broke a nail rather badly (don't you hate that when they are all the same lovely length and then, bamm, one of them is destroyed) so I booked a manicure and then went to an organizational meeting for the ship's Family Readiness Group in the evening.  I managed to keep my mouth shut and not volunteer for anything at this stage; happily, there were enough volunteers to make a full board of officers so we are up and running.  The Family Readiness Groups' popularity has waned in these days of rapid communication through text, Facebook, Skype, and other social media, but it's still a great time to meet other spouses at social events while the ship is gone and work on the best activity of all - homecoming.

On Saturday, Vic and I took off on another road trip - this time along the scenic Highway 101 with Forks as our destination.  Sophia was the big Twilight fan in our household but we were all caught up in the Team Edward/Team Jacob furor some time ago and thought it would be fun to see Forks.  We stopped on the way at Lake Crescent which was beautiful and we'll be heading back there when the weather warms up.  Forks was a bit of a disappointment - turns out that none of the movie was actually filmed anywhere in Forks so the sights were only from the book.  Since I never got around to the book, I was expecting to see what I remembered from the movie.  It was a lovely day out though as Vic enjoys driving and it gives us a chance to talk about everything and nothing.  We took a quick detour on our way home at the Hoh Rainforest and enjoyed a light hike along the Hall of Mosses.

Lake Crescent
First Beach at La Push - home of the Quileute Tribe

Vic outside the Visitors' Center in Forks with Bella's trucks - one from the book and one from the movie
Bella Swan's house which was for sale

Hiking the Hall of Mosses - our first Washington hike
Vic had duty on Sunday and had discovered that his truck radiator was leaking so I dropped him off and then picked him up when he got off work on Monday.  It was a week of early mornings as we haven't had the time to take his truck in to be repaired but it was a little walk down memory lane as we only had one car when we were first married.  The only difference is that then we had Sophia in a car seat in the back and now we have MudLynn!

I spent Tuesday through Thursday mornings at a COMPASS training session.  COMPASS is like Navy 101 for spouses, everything you ever wanted to know.  It gets its name from the concept of navigating your way through Navy life.  I've taken it before and after almost 21 years, you'd think I pretty much knew everything I needed to know but it's also an opportunity to meet spouses in the local area and to take advantage of the Local Insights segment which is always helpful when you move to a new part of the country.  As it was, I met three other spouses from our ship so that was a bonus.

Thursday night was our anniversary and we went out for tapas and paella which was delicious.  We came home and spent two hours going through souvenirs and photos of our first years together which was really special.

And to round out the week, we headed to Salem, Oregon on Friday for the IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Show Association) Regional Competition to see Sophia and her teammates ride.  This is the culmination of the 2014-2015 season and successful riders now move on to the Zone Competition for the western states and then ultimately, to the National Competition.  Sophia and two of her teammates were in the same class and all three received ribbons although only Jill will move on to the Zone event as only the top two riders in each class move forward.  Sophia had her toughest ride of the season; even to my untrained eye, the horse was just not cooperating.  It turned out that her horse, William, was not a Prince after all.  All in all, a great year and as I said on Facebook, a huge thank you to everyone who has supported her with messages of good luck and congratulations throughout the year.  Social media has given her a huge fan club and it's just wonderful.

So, here we are, ready to tackle another week.  It's a pretty quiet one with just a few things on the calendar but that should given us an opportunity to get Vic's truck to the repair shop and go back to being a two-car household.