Digital scrap items in the header, layouts and sidebar are by Miss Mint at or Jen Wilson at

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Want Something FREE???

I added photo editing services to my website a couple weeks ago and have been dragging my feet on uploading example images. I'm looking for people who would like free photo editing in exchange for use of their photo, both the before & after shot. Here are the details from my website:

Get your photos edited for FREE! We're looking for striking baby & children's photos, senior pictures and bridals to use as web examples. If you are willing to have your before and after picture posted, e-mail it to with the phrase "Free Photo Editing" in the subject line. Original pictures must be 300 dpi/ppi. We will contact you for your free editing. One image of an adult (bridal or senior picture) will be used for the $185 package example image.

I'm looking for non-blurry face or face & upper body shots. (I reserve the right to zoom in & crop the picture as I see fit.) The name of the person pictured won't be given on the site, just the image, so be sure you own the copyright to your photo if a professional took the picture. Sorry, I won't edit anything with a photographer's logo on it unless you have a signed copyright release. I'd also prefer that pictures of children were submitted by their parents or that the parents know an image of their child has been submitted. I respect that some parents enjoy starting a child's modeling portfolio while they are infants and others wish for their child's photos to not be visible to the public.

Please allow me to select the photo editing package for you, based on my needs for example images. I will allow brides and seniors to select a finishing theme, as outlined in the $185 package details. Some photos may be edited at a couple different levels to show clients the added improvement from higher-priced packages. You will recieve the edited images in print-ready format by e-mail from me if I choose to use your image. I edit my pictures by hand to enhance the individuality of each one so please allow me a couple days to complete your custom work.

Now let's see those photos!

Friday, February 22, 2008

New Tip Is Up!

Can you spot Miss Mint's Painted Border in the layout below? It's subtle - I used border #2 to add just a touch more grunge to the edge. Click the link below to see the blog post on how I did it!

Look At The Time!

Can you believe I actually got something scrapped?!! I'm participating in a challenge so I spent a lot more time on this one than usual. It has GOBS of layers and took me a couple hours - mostly because I had to recolor everything!

I'll let you know how it goes. I will probably get booed out of the gallery since I'm on a CT (and that's not always fair to the other gals scrapping with me) but I'm having fun playing along any ways!

This is Aiden, getting in to everything as usual. On this day it was him finding my toiletry kit and playing on the floor in our bathroom with all the bright colored goodies he dumped out. (Whatever buys you a few more minutes of time, right?!!) I really like his "uh, oh" expression and what a little boy he looks like with his disheveled hair, big eyes and that pout!

Yes, I do clean up a LOT of his little messes during the day but I know it's worth it. It would take me too long to explain why a tupperware cabinet or a brightly colored piece of junk mail provides more enriched learning than any video could ever offer your baby. Just know that every time you're picking up the pieces left after the last "experiment", your child has experienced the best kind of learning and that is more than worth the inconvenience!

Seriously, though, it's approaching 2 am and I need sleep! I'll write more tomorrow!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


We have had a problem with liquids at our house today! It all began when Aiden jostled his sippy cup too much and somehow got the top slightly unscrewed. When I got home from our morning activites & errands, I found his cup had leaked all over our tile. Luckily I water down his apple juice pretty heavily so it wasn't a huge deal to clean up.

Then bed time came along. Brian is out of town so I did the whole dinner/bath/pajama routine by myself. When I laid Aiden down with a big 9 ounce bottle for bed, I was so happy to be done for the day. (Before you give me a lecture on tooth rot from putting a baby to bed with a bottle, remember it's Aiden. After he sucks down the formula as fast as he can, he throws the bottle as far as he can! I can promise no milk is left on his teeth, especially since he then falls asleep biting on his favorite fleecey blanket.) Any ways, Aiden had been down for all of 3 minutes when I finally get around to checking my e-mail. Then I hear him cry. I let him fuss for a good 3 or 4 minutes before his cries take on an urgent, something-is-wrong tone. I open the door to his room and *WHAM* the stench of formula hits me. I go to pick up Aiden, who is standing up & crying, to find he is DRENCHED in formula. I flip on the light and strip him out of his dripping jammies. He is soaked all the way through, head to toe, and his skin is sticky to the touch. Back in the tub he goes! I'm still not exactly sure what has happened but I get him soaped up, rinsed, dried off & back in a fresh pair of jammies in about 10 minutes.

I then turn my attention to the crib. I pick up one of his blankets and it is soaked. I pull back the other blanket to find it and the sheets are dripping. I pull the sheets & blankets off and go start a load of laundry. When I get back I realize there is a pool of formula on the plastic mattress pad. I sop it up and take the mattress completely out of the crib so I can Clorox wipe the sticky off of it. Then I realize the crib skirt is soaked! By this time, I'm asking aloud "What on earth happened in here?" and then............I find the bottle....

As you know by now, Aiden is very curious and very busy. EVERYTHING must be investigated. Including his bottle tonight. He has discovered that if you push on the soft silicone bottle nipple, it will go in. If you push harder and further, it will go all the way in! Only problem is, he tried this while lying on his back with a full nine ounce bottle. So wedged down along the side of the crib is this upside down Avent bottle, with the silicone nipple shoved most of the way down into the neck of the bottle, creating an enormous space between the nipple and plastic ring for formula to escape. And escape it did. After I get the crib skirt in the wash I realize the formula has sloshed up against the wall, run down the baseboard and beaded up on the carpet behind his crib! I don't understand how a few ounces of formula suddenly turned into five gallons of fluid but it took me thirty minutes working at top speed, with Aiden still crying because NOW he wants to go to sleep, to get this huge mess cleaned up! Of course, all of this would happen while Brian is out of town. ;)

I bet my curious little boy doesn't play with his bottles any more! LOL!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Toys R Us Sale

Hey mommies, listen up! Toys R Us is giving away a free toy when you buy a fisher price toy! Here are the details:

Buy ANY Fisher Price toy for $19.99 or more and get FREE a Fisher Price toy of your choice, ages 0-12 months, priced up to $19.99. (This includes products that are rated 6-36 months, like the Laugh & Learn collection.) Online the offer says "Free toy valued up to $19.98" but in the store the sign says $19.99 and they seemed to be honoring that. Sale ends on Saturday or when all the baby toy inventory is gone.

For example, you can go in and buy a fisher price toy for your two year old and get a FREE 0-12 month toy for a baby shower or birthday gift. We bought Aiden a new toy for $20.99 and got a $16.99 toy for free. NICE! Now he has some new things to play with while Brian is out of town.

Hint: Ask to do two separate transactions if you want to buy two toys and get two for free to put away as gifts! But hurry and get up there ASAP!!!

BONUS: There is a huge clearance sale going on so keep an eye out for the little red clearance flags next to the shelf price tags. Some small toys are marked all the way down to 98¢!!!!

Happy bargain shopping!

Your Super-Cheap Friend

Getting Inventive

Aiden is very busy, always exploring and gets bored with his toys pretty quickly. Yesterday I started playing a game with him - naming colors - and was SHOCKED when he started trying to repeat the words. After another game I quickly invented, he labeled the colors of two objects correctly. I am not trying to brag, I'm just genuinely surprised that my developmental text books are right about how young and how rapidly babies can learn. (And I'm so greatful that I had the opportunity in college to be taught how I can help my children learn!)

Here is what I did:

Aiden was pulling duplos (legos) out of his toy room cubby and I was naming the colors as he pulled the blocks out one by one. There are only four colors: red, blue, yellow & green. After ten or twelve labels, I noticed he began to slow down and would pause, block in hand in mid air, to look at me and wait for the name. I was naming colors but I wondered if he was wanting to know what the object was called, not the color. Since I already know babies will learn the labels of the most obvious object traits first (ie: color), I set up a quick lesson. I sorted a heap of his toys by color. There was a blue pile with a lego, a plastic sorting block, a sand shovel and a foam letter in it. The red pile had a similar mix, including a plastic hammer, and so on. Then I very quickly directed Aiden's attention to a pile, rapidly lifted objects one at a time and said "blue", then put it back in the pile, grabbed another item, labeled it "blue" and continued until I had labeled all the items in the pile as blue. When the playroom floor has all the toys sorted by color into piles (and all the multi colored toys put away), it's very obvious, even to a child, that the objects have color in common and that is what you are labeling. It worked. I went through the other colors while he watched and I swear, I could almost see the light bulb come on as he looked over the sorted piles on the floor. He can't say the color names very well at all. He only says the beginning sound, "buh" for blue, "gruh" for green, "yuh" for yellow, "rrrr" for red. After a few incorrect color labels, he did honestly and spontaneously label two toys correctly. I think we'll play this game again today!

I should add, however, that I am NOT an advocate of pushing/forcing children to learn. I am very much for the power of play. (If you haven't read the book "Einstein Never Used Flash Cards", you simply must. Must, must, MUST!!! Order it online this SECOND!) Our game was invented on the fly to try and keep a busy boy still for a few more seconds and teach him something new and exciting. I'll only play it for fun, not drill him or expect perfection. It's so much more important that he learns how much I love him and that nothing about his entire being is disappointing to me. Being able to name a few colors at ten months is a failure if for one second my precious son thinks I only love him when he meets my expectations.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


On a whim, we decided to try the wagon again tonight. (Desensitization works well for babies!) We pulled it all the way out onto the flat pavement of the street and loaded Aiden in a different seat than usual. He began to fuss so I hopped in the wagon and held him while Brian drug us up and down the street. It worked! I was eventually able to hop out of the wagon but I'm sure I looked like a total moron following behind, clapping my hands and shouting "Yay, Aiden! Wheeee!" I don't care. It's worth it. Brian gets on a plane Wednesday to leave for his big ski trip and I'm flying solo until Sunday. I NEED all the distractions I can get for that kiddo! (Seriously contemplating a run to Toys R Us for new toys but maybe I'll just dump out our most exciting kitchen gadgets & office supplies for him to explore. Highlighter washes off....)

So this means one of two things: You will either see a TON of new layouts on my blog or you won't see me at all because I'll be on outings & playdates trying to wear the gator out!

Sunday Thoughts: I never mention what I learned at church, but one of my best friends gave a great talk today about friends. She was the perfect person to speak because I have never known anyone who hosted more get-to-know-you dessert nights, brought more plates of cookies to new neighbors or went further out of her way to include new people in our usual group activities than Kelsey. She really impresses me with how thoughtful she is and it's GENUINE. She's not trying to be the most popular person, she just enjoys people and wants them to know they have a friend in her. (Funny, it's the people that are trying so hard to be popular that end up with no friends at all.) Kelsey mentioned today that it's not hard to talk to people, invite them over and make them a friend. I agree with this but I'd also like to add that you need to be the type of person that makes other people feel good about themselves. (Kelsey does this well, too!) Let other mommies know that it's okay to be themselves around you. Don't take yourself too seriously, have a sense of humor about your own follies and watch how relaxed people become around you.

Kelsey also mentioned that there are people who may "fish" for complements. This is the result of a low self-esteem and while these ladies are the most uncomfortable or annoying to be around, they are the ones most desperately in need of friends.

P.S. If you don't feel amazing about yourself, evaluate what it is that's bothering you. Fix it, finish it or otherwise correct it and you might be surprised that you're happier and feel more free and confident than you ever have before! I would know. I put entirely too much pressure on myself while I was in school because I thought a degree was *everything*. I couldn't change my mindset - I still feel that way today - but the day I graduated, I was a new woman. Happiness has flooded my life ever since and while I do get occasional twinges of inadequacy, they vanish as quickly as they come when there's nothing wounding your self-esteem.