Notebook love and candy!

Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions for my notebook! Some of them I had already considered doing, while others were a revelation! It was nearly impossible to choose WHAT to do with it after hearing all of the great suggestions, so I decided to combine a bunch of them!
I added some sticker tabs every few pages throughout to divide the notebook into different sections so I can use the one notebook to serve many purposes, which works out perfectly for my sometimes hectic life! Now I have ONE notebook that serves many purposes. I labeled the first (and largest) section as my journal. This isn’t for every day happenings, but is a place where I can lay out my innermost thoughts and feelings and have a platform to spew my mental diarrhea (sorry for the mental image there). I find that writing down my sporadic thoughts is very therapeutic and I often find myself solving my own problems as I’m writing. My entries may be just as sporadic as my thoughts and not really connect together at all, but it’s a spot where I can make sense of my claptrap through writing. Especially during those few very hormonal days of the month where I feel the world is crashing down on me, and it’s really just a silly acorn. You know what I’m talking about.

The next section is labelled “Gratitude”. I know how important a sense of gratitude is in my own personal happiness (and thus the happiness of my family – ’cause when momma ain’t happy….) It’s a section where I can jot down one thing each day that I’m grateful for. I want each day’s entry to be unique and separate from each entry before – which will force me to be more creative and more specific with my gratitude. I’m excited about this section! I may be guilty of many things, but one thing I hope never to be found guilty of is ingratitude. I believe whole heartedly that gratitude, especially gratitude towards a loving Father in Heaven, is fundamental to having joy. And in today’s bleak world, I want to be able to see those rays of sunshine and shout “Thank you” from the roof tops! Well, at least WRITE thank you in my little notebook πŸ™‚

The third section is labeled “Goals”. I like the idea of having a place to write down my goals, because as B reminded me in her comment – an unwritten goal is merely a wish. I know it’s true and I need to be more diligent about not only writing down my goals, but checking back on them regularly and reporting on them to SOMEONE. I LOVE this quote by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin from the April 2006 Conference when he said

“I urge you to examine your life. Determine where you are and what you need to do to be the kind of person you want to be. Create inspiring, noble, and righteous goals that fire your imagination and create excitement in your heart. And then keep your eye on them. Work consistently towards achieving them.”

I want to get excited about who I can become and what I can accomplish with the Lord’s help. It SHOULD excite me. And writing down those goals is a worthy first step! πŸ™‚

The fourth section is labeled “Books” – a small section meant to serve as a place for me to jot down titles of books I’m interested in reading. I come across many great reviews on blogs, or from friends and for the life of me I can’t remember the title or author. Now I have a place to jot those down.

The next section is for my to track my health and my weight. I write what exercise I’ve done, what my current weight is, what I notice my food weaknesses are, and any ideas I come across to help me in the fitness part of my life. Good times.

The last section is a spot to jot down any fun scrapbooking/crafting ideas or inspiration I come across. Simple.

SO, thank you for your help! I loved your suggestions, and as a thank you – I’m going to make another notebook for one of my readers. Just leave a comment at the end of this post, mention if you’d like to be entered in for a notebook, and I’ll draw a name on Friday! I really am grateful for your help and your inspiration!

On that note- I was certainly inspired by THIS link found on Just About Perfect. It was an idea for a family notebook/binder and I knew I had to do it right away. I covered a regular 3-ring binder and filled it with sections titled things like “To do”, “Menu/Shopping”, “Budget”, “Home Storage”, “Family”,”School”, “Household cleaning”, and “Phone Directory”. It’s a one-stop shop for everything our family tries to keep organized. I LOVE it. I’m tired of findind papers lying all over the house, really not belonging anywhere. This is an easy way to keep everything organized and in one spot. I’m working on an Emergency Contact list to paste on the inside cover, so babysitters – or even myself – can have a quick reference with things like our cell phone #s, the Doctor’s #, Dentists #, and health care #s etc. I think it will be a great resource. I hope you’ll check out the link because there are a ton of other fun organizing tips/tools on the site.

Okay, being stuck inside the house for days on end does have it’s good points I’ll admit. I finally got around to scrapbooking some pics I took of my girls back in November. These aren’t very involved pages – they took me next to no time to do, but I like how they turned out (and it has absolutely NOTHING to do with the super adorable, smoochable girls in the photos).

Oh! And before I go – I am tickled pink to have been awarded the “Encouraged” award from Laura over at Picture This… Scrap Happens. YAY!! It brightened my day!!
It’s nice to feel that the time I spend on this blog isn’t wasted – and your comments and support just lift my spirits SO much. Thank you!
So, now I’m going to pass the award along to a blog that keeps me feeling encouraged! I loved reading her blog not only for the crazy amount of crafty brilliance exhibited, but for her astounding positive attitude toward life. She is forever encouraging not just me, but hundreds of readers with her cheerful, though always real posts. She has a wonderfully positive view on life, and even during tough times ( ’cause we all have them!) she is able to exhibit a wonderful eternal perspective that helps those troubles seem lighter. It’s wonderful and I never leave her blog feeling unhappy or discouraged. So, what better winner of the “Encouraged” award than Heather D. White! You deserve this 100% and more!

So, if you are still with me – feel free to leave a comment if you’d like to be entered to win a covered notebook! I’d love to repay you for your inspiration!

Funerals, The Flu, and a Giveaway!

When a family funeral and Thanksgiving land on the same weekend, you know you’re in for a busy few days πŸ™‚ Thank you for all of your well wishes and kind thoughts. I appreciate knowing how much you care! It means a lot to me πŸ™‚

Friday, early morning, we headed out to Cardston, Alberta to be with family and friends as we mourned the passing of our Grandmother, Louise Shipley. I say mourned because her personality and love will be missed, however it was also a celebration of a life well lived, and of the beautiful family heritage she created. She was very much a grandmother to me from the day I wed my husband – the first time I met her, she hugged me and kissed me full on the mouth! She was a very affectionate person and made everyone she came into contact with feel like they were the only person in the room – at least, that’s how she made ME feel, especially when she would look at me, that knowing look that said more than a hundred words could have. She was a truly GOOD person, who led a GOOD life, and raised GOOD children. Such a person will be missed and will be loved forever. On the other hand, it’s difficult to feel terribly sad when I know that she has been reunited with her sweetheart, who had passed 20 years earlier, as well as many other family members. What a sweet reunion that must have been! Peace be with you ’til we meet again!

And we enjoyed a reunion of our own, as my husband’s cousins, Aunts, Uncles, nieces, nephews, and friends all visited and, truth be told, enjoyed themselves. I had a great laugh with my SIL, when, at dinner, one of the guests introduced themselves as “Louise Shipley” (though I’m sure she was saying – “Louise Shipley’s…..”. We couldn’t help but laugh about how we’d all been “twinkled” and J’s baby hadn’t even woken up! (if that didn’t make sense – don’t worry about it, just move on….) By the way, I had a great time visiting with J and snuggling her new baby “A” all afternoon. She is SUCH A DOLL!!!

We spent one night in Cardston at a hotel where the girls had a great time swimming in the pool with daddy. I ventured as far as squeezing myself into a bathing suit, but the noise and craziness had me running full tilt for the hotel room before too long πŸ™‚

After the funeral on Saturday, we then travelled to Calgary to spend a few days with my husband’s parents and siblings. We stopped off to visit with my hubby’s youngest brother and his very pregnant wife πŸ™‚ They are such a cute couple, and we are SO excited to welcome their new baby girl when she decides to make her appearance in the next few weeks. I especially loved saying “hi” to Scooter, our toy poodle puppy that they were nice enough to take off our hands when we moved. I was surprised he remembered us after all this time! D and E have a cute house that they’ve fixed up so nicely. I was really nice to visit with E and get to know her better – she’s a doll, and D sure hit the jackpot with her! The best part about their union was seeing D being himself again. She brings out the best in him, it seems. Can’t wait to meet baby!

Sunday was relatively quiet as most of the siblings were at their in-law’s homes for Thanksgiving dinner. I stayed home with the two little ones as they decided it would be loads of fun to start throwing up all over themselves. Great timing!! I was happy I stayed, though, because I had the chance to have a great visit with my BIL who had lived in China for 5 1/2 years and I hadn’t had a great chance to really get to know him until recently.This guy is 6’5″ with red hair – he blended right in with the locals in China πŸ˜‰ I always knew he was brilliant (in the very literal sense of the word), and our conversation didn’t disappoint. But beyond being smart, he is thoughtful – and yes, there is a difference. His pattern of thinking runs deep, much deeper than I usually allow myself to think – though I think having toddlers counts as an excuse. He will go far in life, no question. AND he’s on the market, ladies!! LOL! It was so nice visiting with you, B!

Sunday evening, since we had some free time, we visited with MY two sisters in their homes, which was wonderful, but much too short. I can’t wait to see them again in December when we come again for Christmas. I sure loved seeing them, though πŸ™‚

We all got together for Thanksgiving on Monday, and we make quite the rowdy bunch when we get together. Actually, it’s only noisy because of the sheer number of us πŸ™‚ 11 children under twelve and one on the way, 11 adults who ACT like children (well, maybe only a couple of them.. tee hee hee) and it makes for loads of laughs! πŸ˜€
Monday morning we were tempted to leave as the kids had still been sick the day before. But, Monday morning came and everyone seemed to be feeling just fine. After Grandpa had played a nice game of chess with TJ, BB and B decided it was their turn. It cracked me up how B took it so seriously, really thinking out each move. BB was just trying to sit still until her turn! Needless to say, the game didn’t last long before they went upstairs to join TJ in building with some K’Nex toys.

My husband, the amazing man he is, spent most of Monday morning washing his Mom’s windows, inside and out! Now, just HOW to get him to do the same around here….hmmmmm πŸ˜‰

Once everyone started arriving at home base (i.e. grandma’s house), we piled in our vehicles (the grand kids piled in the back of grandpa’s pick up truck with Aunt T as a chaperon) to drive around the corner for a fun half hour of photos – we don’t ALL get together too often these days, so we were sure to get family photos (taken by myself, with the help of a C when I needed to be in the shots). It wasn’t as crazy a time as I expected – all of the kids cooperated well, and we managed to get some nice shots, I think.

They are a very excitable family ….

We had the traditional delicious Thanksgiving meal, which I felt terrible for not contributing to in any way except my appetite, and setting the table. My MIL did so much for us over the course of the weekend. I felt especially terrible that my kids were puking everywhere. We did our best to clean it up, but I’m sure she still had to clean after we left 😦

We visited with my husband’s siblings while the kids all played surprisingly well together. I think growing up has calmed them down quite a bit. There weren’t any fires to put out πŸ™‚ TJ was especially excited to see her cousin, S, and they played most of the day. My SIL, T, offered to have TJ sleep over Sunday evening, but with the younger ones coming down with the flu, we didn’t think it would be a great idea. TJ was disappointed, but such is life. I appreciated T offering – she always treats my kids so nicely, and I love that about her.
Monday evening we visited with some great friends (Hi Mary!!) and my brother (Hi Aaron!) over some delicious turkey soup (yummo!). It was a busy and fulfilling day. We headed to bed and Lyndon and I visited for another couple of hours in bed. It was one of the nicest days I can remember.

Tuesday, we packed up the van and headed back home. We didn’t get very far when we heard a horrible noise coming from the seat behind us and looked back to see our JJ covered head to toe in vomit. GRRRREAT! We pulled over and cleaned her up as best as we could, but enjoyed the wonderful smell the entire 7 hour drive back home. She couldn’t have held it in until we got closer to home??? Come on now…. πŸ˜‰ Everyone seemed to have it out of their system by then, however, so all is well.

After being away for five days, there was a lot of business to take care of at home, but we tried to take it in stride. And now – I’m officially back – physically and mentally πŸ™‚ Which brings me to my GIVEAWAY!!!

TO celebrate 25,000 visitors to my blog, I’m giving away a $25 gift certificate to AMAZON.CA! One sweet dollar for every thousand visitors. I’m truly grateful for each of you – you build me up, make me laugh, make me cry (in a good way) and inspire me to do better and be better. THANK YOU!!

So, to enter, just leave a comment below! I’ll draw a winner NEXT Friday (Oct.24), so good luck to everyone!!

Blog Candy Sneek Peak!!

Since Halloween is just around the corner (scary, I know) I thought I’d make my blog candy equally as scary! OOOOoooooh! I saw this idea on THIS blog and I LOVED IT! I ran out to buy the supplies and got right to work. I used papers from Martha Stewart’s “Vintage Halloween” and just mod podged them right on. The letters are attached using some black wire, all curly cued up to look smashing. I also thought this would be a fun gift for someone who may not be a scrapbooker. So, my lucky winner will receive these “BOO” wooden blocks as well as:

Some way cute K&Co. stickers, three halloween stamps, some delish lindor chocolates, and some cute orange polka dot ribbon.

How do you enter? Leave a comment on my previous post! Right now you have a really good chance of winning! And you’ll be able to enjoy a taste of sweetness a few weeks before All Hallows Eve! Hope you enjoy!