This is just way too fun!

We are planning a cruise for early 2014 and one of our excursions will be snorkeling! We considered buying a couple of disposable waterproof cameras to use, but those pose a couple of problems: 1. You can’t see what you are photographing (digital has spoiled me). 2. There are a limited number of pics you can take.  3. The resulting files aren’t digital, so it’s harder to share and edit or delete if need be. 4. No video capabilities. We thought of others, but you get the idea. So…what to do? Well, this is the point and shoot digital camera that we own currently:
It’s a Canon Powershot Elph 300 HS, and it’s a great little P&S camera. We love it. After a little research online (VERY little research), we found a fun case that renders the camera waterproof and for just under $60!
Canon WP-DC320L Waterproof Camera Case
There is another case, about $160, that is even better quality, but we can’t afford an extra $100 for it. We decided to go with the one above and give it a try!
Here are some of the results – these were taken in a fairly dark swimming pool, so I was impressed with the results:









What was the verdict? Thumbs up!!
If you are taking a vacation near some water, why not check online to see if there is a waterproof case for your camera! You might be surprised, and it’s a great investment, in my opinion. We also took some video and the sound picks up quite well, too. Bonus!
Can’t wait for our Cruise!!!


Playing Catch Up

I remember a time when I created (and used) this blog to keep a personal record and to stay in touch with my family and friends, once we moved a Province away. It seems like forever since I took the time to write about my own life and what is happening. I guess the general audience of my blog, these days, visit for the printables and tutorials and (in my mind) aren’t interested in reading about my personal life. However, I am going to indulge myself, now and then, to play catch up and write a little about what has been happening in our home. If this isn’t interesting to you – no worries. I hope you’ll visit on another day, or spend a little time browsing through my other posts that catch your eye 🙂
Me. Well, I know how cliche and over-used this term is, but “I’ve been busy” pretty much sums it up.
I’m busy as a mother. My girls are getting older and (with that) it seems BUSIER. 
My eldest recently ran for Student Leadership Council President (along with several others) and, while she didn’t win, she is on the SLC board as the Event Coordinator, which means she is responsible for planning and coordinating the social activities that happen in the school (i.e. dances, Spirit days, assemblies, etc.). She was also asked by the school principal to give the morning announcements with the SLC president, every morning. This is a great honor because, originally, it was only the president who would do this. She was told that the principal was very impressed by her speech and thought she had great poise. What a lovely compliment!

I took the opportunity to go to the school one morning to watch her give the announcements over the P.A. system. She did great!!

Being 12, she is also in the Young Women’s program of our church and loves it. She has been actively working on her Personal Progress goals and completing several value experiences and even one value project! I serve as the Young Women’s secretary in our ward so I get the joy of participating in many activities and seeing her enjoy the activities and interaction with the other young women in our ward. We have a wonderful group, who love each other, are very accepting of one another, and support each other in living righteous lives. It is wonderful to see and to joy in their examples. I love serving in this calling, and hope that I am magnifying my calling as I serve and help the rest of the presidency.

TJ still loves to sing, but has been too busy with school work to spend as much time doing it. That will change, though, now that she has started back up with voice lessons – trying a new teacher within the “Sing Like A Star” program she had been in a year ago. She still spends at least an hour a day playing on the piano – usually figuring out how to play songs she hears on the radio. I have got to get that girl into lessons so she can learn to play properly and hone her skills!

B is 10 and has been very involved in the SLC as a room rep. There are two students from each classroom chosen as representatives for their class to attend SLC meetings and help in the planning of the activities that go on. It is an honor to be chosen as a room rep., as the teacher chooses whom he/she feels is the most responsible in the class. She felt wonderful to be given the responsibility of representing her classroom! 
She is also involved in the safety patrol as a crossing guard, which she finds a lot of joy in. She loves to go to the farthest spot on the busiest street so she can help the parents and students cross safely. I’m sure she feels very grown up doing this, and I would agree!

She has been continuing her love of rock climbing, and takes every opportunity to climb the 6-storey indoor climbing wall, here in the city. She has tried each of the different routes up the wall with great success – reaching the top in record time. I love seeing the look of accomplishment on her face when she finishes. It does a mother’s heart good!

B also loves going to Achievement Days activities and working on her goals in her “Faith in God” book. She recently taught a family home evening lesson on the sacrament, why we take it, and how to live worthy to partake every week. It was a fabulous lesson and she was able to complete one of her goals at the same time! She is growing in her knowledge and testimony, as well as in her maturity and responsibility. She is a lovely young woman.

BB has had an exciting year, with turning 8 years old and choosing to be baptized! We were thrilled that she made that choice and pleased with her growing knowledge of the gospel. She is always excited to read scriptures in the morning, and often asks to read the verses herself. She loves to participate in primary and is a joy to her class.

She was baptized in Calgary, so many of our family members could be there to support her. I felt such overwhelming love and support that day, from all who came and those who wanted to, but were unable to make it. I know BB felt incredibly special that day.

Speaking of Calgary – we have made many trips there this year – the most since moving here. We have become very familiar with that highway and the sights along the way, and the girls are so, so good on the long trips. They get along with each other and have become very adept at keeping themselves entertained. Our DVD player in the van also helps 🙂

Back to BB – being 8 means that you also get to start attending Achievement Days activities! She couldn’t be more ecstatic to be doing this. She has been to a few, now, and is loving every second. I’m sure she feels so grown up, being able to go, but to me she is still a baby! It has felt like she has grown by leaps and bounds this year…wah! I want my kids to stay little forever. It can’t be, though, and they continue to sprout up, bigger and more mature every day.

BB is also actively involved in choir at school with her two big sisters and has enjoyed it, so far, even with not having Mrs. N there this year. I have encouraged them to give the new teacher a chance, and so far they have enjoyed being a part of choir. I believe they are planning a musical, again, this year as well as a talent show! Should be fun!
All in all, BB is like a little ray of sunshine in our family. She is nearly bursting with joy and enthusiasm, and often finds it hard to just sit still with all of her excitement for life. Really, she gets excited about almost anything and everything – which is very contagious, but sometimes also exhausting! I can’t fault her for loving life, however, and love that quality about her. She is a middle child, and as such is very concerned with what is fair. She is very compassionate and empathetic to those around her and can sometimes be quick to tears. She wears her emotion on her sleeve, for good or bad. I love my little BB!
Now on to my JJ. It seems like all of my girls have had a big year, and JJ is no different. She made the HUGE step into full days at school in grade one! Not only that, she is in a grade 1/2 split -meaning she spends her days with kids a year older! Talk about growing up in a hurry! She has two wonderful teachers and, despite JJ’s protests, she is learning to read very well. She is always excited to pull out her home reading and I love seeing her eyes light up when she realizes that she is recognizing letters and words. It’s fantastic!

She is still the ultimate fashionista, sometimes changing her outfit 3 times a day. Yeesh. I don’t get it. I have never been really fashion forward, myself, so I don’t understand the preoccupation with one’s clothes. Still, she finds joy in it and loves to experiment with different colors and patterns together. If she could wear a frilly dress every day and every night, she would. 
JJ is a lot of fun and has an incredibly quick wit. The stuff that comes out of her mouth makes me laugh out loud! She loves to behave like she is much older, which her father and I do NOT like and try to discourage. We love her to be our little girl and don’t want her growing up too quickly. Being the youngest, she spends a lot of her energy wanting to be like, and do things like her older sisters do. It’s rough being the youngest!
She is a whole lot of fun in a small package, though. Love that girl!
Oh ya, back to me 🙂 So, yes, busy as a mom and busy as a photographer and website manager. I seem to start into a slow run where photography is concerned, in early summer – then it turns into a sprint in later summer – and ends up as a mad dash through all of autumn.Somehow, though, I managed to make it through even the busiest weeks without forgetting anyone or anything. It was sad to have to turn a few customers away, as I booked up so quickly. I wish I had the time to fit absolutely everyone in, but I just don’t. 
Health-wise, I am coping much better with my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – being easier on myself and allowing myself to rest when I need to. I have taken up a more serious exercise regime and can feel myself getting stronger, bit by bit. The gym at the YMCA is slowly becoming my new best friend, and I am trying to make my body as healthy as it can be while I have this illness. I have bad days, which is normal and fine and doesn’t make me a bad person (or so I tell myself). I would say, overall, things are improving and I am trying to have as good an attitude about my future as I can muster.

Lyndon is still working as hard as ever, in his job, his church calling, and in the home. He was recently called to the Stake Young Men’s presidency, which is new and exciting – especially with a multi-stake youth conference and Pioneer Trek coming up this year. He loves the youth and sets such a wonderful example for them. I’m sure the Lord knew that Lyndon, having all daughters at home, needed some “boy time” now and then 🙂

2012 seemed to pass in a blur. We experienced so many wonderful things and grew as individuals and as a family. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • A Wedding reception in Calgary and China!
  • 10 days in China!
  • Family Reunion
  • Vacationing in Calgary with good friends from Idaho
  • BB’s baptism
  • Thanksgiving with my extended family
  • Attending the Calgary Temple Open House
  • Making many new (and dear) friends
  • New callings (Me in the YW Pres., Lyndon in the Stake YM Pres. and TJ in the Beehive class pres.)
  • All of the kids in school FULL TIME
  • Being a part of the Ella Publishing 2012 Team
  • Being interviewed for a podcast
  • TJ singing on the radio
  • B making it to the top of the largest indoor climbing wall in Canada!
  • Getting our tent trailer and our first camp outs in it
  • Lots of quality time in the van, making 5 trips to Alberta in one year
  • TJ’s first girls camp!
  • BB’s first time going to Achievement Days
  • JJ learning to read
  •  And so, so, so much more!!

Visit my photo-a-day blog to see photos from each day of last year – it was a good one!

 It was a stellar year and we know that this coming year will hold a lot of excitement and joy for us. Here’s to a wonderful 2013!!!


My Approach to December Daily

It’s live!! This is SO exciting, for me. Check out my interview with Melisssa Shanhun from “Digital Scrapbooking HQ“. Have you ever been interviewed before? I was so nervous to do a podcast but she made it so easy and fun 🙂 
In this podcast, I talk about my approach to December Daily. I’d love for you to check it out 🙂
You can also download some free Word Art on her site. Perfect for those December Daily scrapbooking pages. 
For some ideas on what activities you can do with your family this December, check out this post:
Enjoy your December!