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Hi diddly ho neighbors!

Sorry I haven’t been around all that much. Been busy busy, as usual! I have a new Quick Page album and I thought I’d have a wee contest! You can win it before it even goes on sale!

This sweet little album is made using my Monkey Do kit, but there are a few extra goodies tucked in here that you can’t get with the kit!

So, here’s the deal:

All you have to do is leave a comment here with a funny story about someone you love, or even yourself! It doesn’t have to be embarrassing, but if you wanna lay it all out on the table, I won’t turn down a good laugh! πŸ˜‰

So, leave your little story in the comment section by Midnight EST on Friday August 8th, 2008 and I will put everyone into a drawing for the album. One lucky runner up will win my Monkey Do kit. πŸ™‚

And since previews don’t really do an album any kind of justice, here is mine. I hope you like it!

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY ALBUM IN THE SHUTTERFLY GALLERY

Ok, this was just way too funny to redo. This is totally me trying to be somewhat normal and getting sabotaged by the Noodle.

I love how she says “oopsy daisy”

So, that was my morning in a nutshell. πŸ™‚ Apparently I am still way too loud. How do people get their videos to sound so good? With no white noise? UGH. Ok. Gotta run! Lots to do today!

Today is absolutely gorgeous. I sent the older girls outside to play in the shade in our backyard. It was so quiet that I felt compelled to go outside and check on them and make sure they were still on our street. You know how kids are. And mine really like to wander. πŸ™‚

Well, to my surprise, they were exactly where I told them to be and they had made a little camp, complete with bouncy balls, a hula hoop and rocking chair. They looked so incredibly sweet that I snuck back inside and grabbed the camera.

This is how I like my girls to be. Though, they’re hardly ever like this these days. Usually they’re screaming at each other, fighting over some ridiculously unimportant toy, or writing “you smell like poo” on each other’s notebooks.

I have to cherish these moments of sisterly companionship and relish every second of them.

I think I can already hear them tearing each other’s hair out now…

πŸ˜‰

Hi all!

I’ve been busy, busy today! I actually created a kit from start to finish in 1 day! It’s been ages since I’ve been able to do that. I also made a quickpage and a template, too! πŸ™‚ But most of the credit belongs to Liz. She’s such a great friend and motivator, that I really wanted to finish this and justify her enthusiasm and energy when it comes to my designs. I’m lucky she’s my friend! πŸ™‚

You can find them all HERE in my store. πŸ™‚

And, of course, I think we should have a bit of fun with this! So, let’s scrap about our little monkeys! If you have kids, rambunctious pets, a crazy uncle, a beloved stuffed animal, or a hubby who’s 31 going on 13, this is the challenge for you! All you have to do is create a page (or anything else!) about a silly monkey in your life and then post a link for me here in the comments. I’ll pick 3 winners and they’ll all receive a $10 gift certificate to my store! (You can also use my new QP! That counts, too!) πŸ˜‰ Deadline is Friday, 25 July, at midnight.

Happy scrapping! Ciao, all!

It seems my blog posts get fewer and farther between! I guess that’s what happens when you have a busy summer! πŸ™‚ My father-in-law is visiting now and he’s been here for a week and a half already. He leaves on Friday and we have been trying to fit in as much fun stuff as possible. πŸ™‚

Here’s a quick recap:

Went to Stamford and walked around downtown. Found a pretty little picnic area and we fed the ducks.

Then Colin took his dad and the older girls to an air show over the weekend. They had a good time. πŸ™‚

Then while we were driving around yesterday, we dropped some broken appliances off at the recycling center/dump and I found this little tea set in a box. They keep they furniture, toys, and random stuff at the front and you can pay to haul it away. I bought a solid wood coffee table with drawers from them previously. All it needed was some soap and elbow grease. The kids use it for their coloring table now. It’s perfect! So, anyway, this little tea set was only 1 pound. πŸ™‚ Gotta love that. I brought it home and scrubbed and polished the heck out of it.

Noodle has not stopped playing with it. And she cries when she can’t find it.

A very happy Noodle.

Other than that, we’re just hanging out, enjoying my father-in-law while he’s here. Yesterday was Colin’s birthday and tomorrow is my FIL’s, so we’ve had and are going to have lots of birthday cake and presents. πŸ™‚ It’s been a good couple of weeks. I hope everyone is doing well. Ciao!

On Saturday, we planned a pretty packed day for ourselves. We’d planned to see the Butterfly Park, the Triangular Lodge, and Boughton House, which Kerri lovingly dubbed “Fancy House”.

This was one of my favorites…I loved the black and pink.

What is that curlyQ thingy? Is that their tongue? Or a straw? Is that how they eat? My butterfly anatomy skillz are seriously lacking.

so purdy…

I stood patiently for over 5 minutes waiting for this particular butterfly to open his/her wings so I could get the whole face effect, but he/she wasn’t budging.

That is one crazy lookin’ caterpillar.

If the hibiscus doesn’t rank in the top 5 as one of the world’s most beautiful flowers, someone needs a stern talking-to.

I can’t, for the life of me, remember what this flower is called, but I definitely wanna buy some next time I see them. It’s one of my faves. It’s such a happy flower.

Silly, splashy ducks.

Leaf cutting ants doing their thang.

Giant, killer beast koi. Not really. But I prolly wouldn’t let them eat out of my hands.

I’m just sayin’…

This one was see-thru. So cool.

Hello Mr. T. You seem to have a bit of salad stuck in your chin.

That’s the pond and the rope that the ants use to walk from one side to the other. It’s pretty cool how they were cleverly isolated form the rest of the animals and how they can still do their destructive business in peace. Very clever, indeed.

After the inside of the park, we headed outside to see what else we could find. Also, it was insanely hot and humid inside and we all needed a bit of fresh air. πŸ™‚ The girlies just fell in love with Kerri and it will be a sad afternoon after school today when it sinks in that’s she’s really gone. 😦

A goat! πŸ™‚

This is the entrance to the “Adventures of Urchin the Hedgehog”, better known as “The Ultimate and Definitive Guide to the Extremely Boring Life of the Porcupine’s Ridiculously Cute Cousin.”

It all started innocently. You have to read the storyboards and then there are little displaysΒ  of Urchin and his various benign and tedious adventures.

Look here. Urchin’s talking to a mouse. Man…that’s exciting stuff.

The kids were highly entertained however.

Lara is learning all about what Urchin does and doesn’t eat.

The big kids, however, were hoping that at some point in the story, Urchin’s big brother would take him to a pub and subsequently that there would be a pub for us to enjoy. Alas….

Urchin makes a bridge from a plank….

Kids are still highly entertained.

No children were harmed in the making of this photo.

I don’t want you to think I’m a stick in the mud or anything. The hedgehog adventure was just a bit long. We weren’t expecting to walk the perimeter of a huge field. And cleverly enough, the trail ended directly opposite of the gift shop. Those sneaky little buggers….

Next stop: Triangular Lodge.

From the website:

This delightful triangular building was designed by Sir Thomas Tresham (father of one of the Gunpowder Plotters) and constructed between 1593 and 1597. It is a testament to Tresham’s Roman Catholicism: the number three, symbolising the Holy Trinity, is apparent everywhere. There are three floors, trefoil windows and three triangular gables on each side. On the entrance front is the inscription ‘Tres Testimonium Dant’ (‘there are three that give witness’), a Biblical quotation from St John’s Gospel referring to the Trinity. It is also a pun on Tresham’s name; his wife called him ‘Good Tres’ in her letters.

The girls were trying to be as triangular as possible.

One of the rooms on the ground floor.

One of the teeny windows.

We actually overestimated how long we’d be here. We thought it would be much bigger and much cooler, however, it is what it is. Bizarre and old. πŸ™‚ Colin had planned for us to be there for 15 minutes and I think we were there for 5. Barely. πŸ™‚

We had one more stop planned on our itinerary, Boughton House. We thought that the house was open and that the grounds would be closed according to the website. Unfortunately, we drove out there and it was all shut up. There were two entrances, the main gate and the delivery entrance (which was open). I was seriously contemplating driving up the delivery entrance and seeing if anyone said anything. Colin, being the do-gooder of the bunch, strongly discouraged me and gave me that “Don’t act like a donkey, Jan.” look and I was put in my place.

If I was in the Duke of Buccleuch’s shoes, I wouldn’t want a bunch of crazy, worn-out kids and their trespassing guardians to sneak up to my house, interrupt my tea and ask if they could have the ground tour.

However, if I was the Duke of Buccleuch, I would seriously think about clarifying my noble little website and then I would send a “Crowley Family & Guest” invitation to visit my home. I would teach them how to play Croquet and I would give them all the buttered scones they could fit into their deserving little bellies.

Our neighbor from Germany came for a visit with her son. Our kiddos were playmates for most of the time we lived in Germany and I introduced her to paper scrapbooking. Her husband can now solidly count himself among the ranks of men who have lost their wives to a cardstock textured delirium resulting in the licking of paper and hoarding of ribbons and reclaimed junk drawer goodness. πŸ™‚

I lent Anne my camera while we went to Burghley House for the ambitiously named “Jazz Fest”. When I think of a music fest (any kind), I think of lots of different performers…various styles…a good sound system…and a crowd… What I don’t imagine is 3 ancient English chaps trying desperately to squeeze a mix of jazz and Dixie Land out of their poor little lungs to a crowd no larger than 5. It was sweet having background music playing while we toured the Sculpture Garden, but it was hardly a fest. At one point I was sure that oxygen tanks were going to wheeled out by prim little nurses after one of the songs. They took many well-deserved 20 minute breaks and I was happy for them. They looked plum tuckered, folks. πŸ™‚

So, without further ado, Anne’s photos.

Burghley House

3 very excited kiddos.

So sweet!

Total goofballs!

My silly Mia. πŸ™‚

Lara anted to take a photo of Anne and Linus, so we graciously obliged. Turned out pretty darling.

Walking through the sculpture garden. No idea what’s up with Mia’s face. πŸ™‚ Lovin

Lara’s pose!

More of the sculpture garden.

A sweet one of Lara.

Love this one!

And then there were 30…

This was the coolest part of the day. The kids just LOVED this. And who can blame them?

Mia said their lips were soft like a bunny. πŸ™‚

And one last one of Mia.

We then proceeded to Market Deeping to go to Linford’s traditional fish & chip shop. It’s rated as one of the top 10 in England (#1 in East England!) and we were not disappointed. Holy beans. I’m not a big fast food fan, but I love this stuff. We had our choice of cod, haddock or plaice and I can say, without a doubt, that haddock is my favorite. Not as “fish stick-y” as the other ones.

And while Anne was here we had scones, clotted cream, and jam. Now I knew what clotted cream was. I’ve even bought it before, but I never cracked it open and ended up sending it home with a friend during his visit so he could give it to his mother. I know the English love this stuff, but I just had no idea how to eat it. Well, apparently you eat it on scones with jam on top, preferably strawberry.So we had that while anne was here and I fell in love. I don’t know how I can live without this stuff. I think I am going to have to see if I can make it myself. Who knows…it may be doable. And next time we have it, I’ll be sure to take a pic. πŸ™‚

Anne’s visit was far too short, but we managed to squeeze in some good times. πŸ™‚ Ciao, all!

Noodle has many nicknames. Noodle, obviously. But she is also referred to as The Doots. It might have a subliminal connection to The Dude…we’re not sure.

This day, the Doots and I were just bummin’ around, eating popsicles and bowls of fruit. It was a good day.

I was peeking at her through the sunroom. She had no idea I was there.

A colorful rendition of “Winko Dars”.

Kicking at a bit of nothing on the ground.

Making sure it good and wiped away.

I set out the picnic blanket for her in the backyard and I was peeking at her through the kitchen window.

I then moved to hte back door and she caught me. Love this pic. πŸ™‚

A sunny face smile. πŸ™‚

Checking out the most delicious “pop picko” in the world.

A bit of stretching…for good measure.

Gnawing on the pop picko and checking in on what Mommy’s doing.

Finally noticing the camera and giving a loud, orange, pop picko-ly “CHEESE!

It was a very good day. πŸ™‚

Despite the rain and the wind and the cold, Lara’s birthday party was a big success. πŸ™‚ Yay.

We moved everything into our sun room and the girls still had a blast. Ya know what the kicker is, though? Today it’s beautiful. The sun is shining and it’s lovely out. Figures. πŸ™‚

Anyway. I hold no grudge against Mother Nature. We still had a great time.

The calm before the storm:

I had issues with Lara’s cake…the icing around the top kept sliding off because it had nothing to hold onto. Finally I had to scrape off some of the sand (crushed Nilla wafers) and re-apply it. It ended up staying on so I stopped being mad at the cake. πŸ™‚ Lara picked out all the cake toppers and then I put it together for her. In my head it looked way different and at first I was disappointed that it looked so plain. But then it grew on me and I started to like it.

Yes, we bought a 6 ft inflatable palm tree. And a parrot.

Noodle was being especially mischievous so we put her in her high chair in the kitchen to keep her away from the big girls. She still managed to be a little stinker. πŸ™‚

Then we ate lunch and the girls cracked each other up the entire time.

Then I taught them a short hula dance. I mixed together the easiest steps and then made a little 3 part dance. I was happy that the girls were having fun and enjoying the dancing. They all looked so cute in their costumes. πŸ™‚

Then we brought out the cake and sang to Lara. I made sure not to scorch Polly Pocket and her palm tree.

I love this one. πŸ™‚

Then she opened her gifts with all her friends and they oohed and aahed over all the girly, pink, cutesy stuff she got.

Then we took one last photo of all the girls. I’ve ordered these already and I’m hoping they will get here in time to pass out to the girls before half-term.

So, that was about it. It was exhausting and exciting and we were dead tired afterwards. A friend came over and we played RockBand til midnight, though, So I guess we weren’t too tired. This evening we’ve been invited to a friend’s house for dinner, so we are trying to clean up the wreck that our house has turned into before we head out.

I hope everyone’s having a wonderful weekend. πŸ™‚ Aloha!

I simply have two many plates spinning at once.

  • my new site to finish, have built
  • songbird avenue 1 year anniversary
  • songbird site revamp
  • may songbird kit
  • 1 collab kit
  • comb my hair

And most of this has to be done yesterday. Ugh. Still, I’m trying to keep my head on straight and tackle one thing at a time. That’s all we can do right?

Remember yesterday how I said that my kids enjoy their lunches? They do. But, unfortunately, yesterday Lara was teased to the point of tears because of her Caprese salad. I have no idea what is so disgusting to her schoolmates about cheese, tomatoes and basil…but apparently the others were calling her “gross”, “nasty” and “weird”.

😦

So, Lara and I had a big, long talk about what she wants and how she thinks she should handle the situation. I managed to have a bit of progress. At first the conversation sounded like this:

“Can you just make me Caprese salad when I don’t sit next to ______ and ______ in the lunchroom? Because they tease me and it hurts me.”

Then by the end of the evening it was:

“If they say it’s gross, I’ll tell them to be quiet because they have never tasted it and I think it’s delicious. And then I will eat it all up.”

This was QUITE a leap. πŸ™‚ Because when I picked her up yesterday afternoon, she hadn’t eaten 2/3 of her lunch because of the situation and she was ravenous when we got home. So, this morning, I asked her what she wanted for lunch and I made it all to order.

1 Caprese salad, comin’ right up!

She had so much more confidence this morning and I am really hoping her lunch hour went well. It’s so hard to convey to these kids a sense of independence and originality. Kids can be so cruel sometimes and it seems that these days it’s easier to conform than to stand out. I just talked to her about doing what she wants to do and trying to talk to her about how real friends treat each other. I know these kiddos are only 6, but I really think they should start recognizing how people treat them and how they should treat others and that if someone says they are your “friend” then they should make you feel good, not bad.

UGH. I know I sound like such a softy right now, but this is just one of those things that gets me right here. I cannot stand it when children are bullied. And I don’t want my kidlets to suffer because of anyone else’s unhappiness.

So, BOO! on bullies! πŸ™‚

And besides….my kiddos have grape trees for lunch. So, there. πŸ˜›

πŸ™‚ Happy Friday, everyone!