Bluegrass, here we come!

I’m so excited! I just bought tickets for the hubby and I to go see the Watkins Family Hour next Thursday! I didn’t even know there was a close-by show coming up, but I found out today that there is and I got us tickets! And the best part? The Punch Brothers are performing the very next night (which was sold out completely, boo), so I’m crossing my fingers and hoping for Chris to join the Watkins kids and get a little Nickel Creek reunion going on. :)

It’s all part of Ed Helms’ 2nd Annual LA Bluegrass Nation concert series. You know, Ed Helms from The Office? Well, apparently he really loves Bluegrass as much as the next guy (or maybe a little more if your next guy lives in New York or something) and he saw that LA was seriously lacking in its Bluegrass representation. So he created this ‘situation’ or music great music lineup, if you will, and has lots of fun bands come and play. I can’t wait to go see it. The hubby is probably going to say he’ll ‘tolerate’ it, and go just because he knows it means a lot to me, but deep down I know he’ll have a fun time too.

Here’s the link in case you’re curious: http://labluegrasssituation.com/

They’ve even got Steve Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers playing one night. Yes, that Steve Martin. Didn’t you know he is a famous banjo player? You didn’t? Well, try to contain your excitement. You’re starting to embarrass yourself.  ;)


We’ve added to our family!

And no, not with another child. Trust me, I doubt I would have been able to keep a secret that good.

No, we've adopted a pair of Sulcata tortoises!

We don’t really have names for them, we just call them the Big One and the Little One. We’re not even sure of the sex of either of them, although we’re pretty convinced the Big One is a girl. They’ve been happily roaming around our backyard for a  few weeks now, and they’re so fun. I love to watch them eat because they are so animated when they do. It’s also fun to watch them walk around the perimeter, getting a feel for their home and trying to find new places to dig.

They eat dry grasses, dark lettuce, and love strawberries. They’ll eat our grass, and the leaves from a hibiscus plant. (At least, I think that’s the name of it, ha.)

The Big One is about 12 inches in diameter, with the little one clocking in at about 8-10 inches across.


This is the Big One. He’s the most social, coming out and running around the most. The Little One likes to burrow more and stays in their little home a lot more. The Big One likes us so much he (or she) keeps trying to find ways to get in through the back door. His/Her success rate is pretty good as it’s come in at least 3 or 4 times when the kids left the back door open! Now there’s a shock, coming in from the bathroom and seeing a giant tortoise moseying around the living room! Next time I will get a photo because it’s too fun to miss.


They like to hide in between tubs, the grill, and the little play slide we have outside. The Little One especially loves hiding underneath the trash cans.

We love our fun turtles! We can’t wait until they get big enough to start charging for rides! ;)


Disney (again)!

On Friday, the hubby’s company had a fun outing to Disneyland for their team, and since E and I still had our park hopper tickets from when my parents came down two weeks ago, we got to go with him! Luckily W stayed behind with the grandparents so that we could have a little more flexibility (read: no stroller to cart around).

And this time we got to go to the California Adventure Park, which I had never been to before. We had lots of fun! Here’s E and I sporting our cool 3-D glasses for the Toy Story Midway Mania ride:



We sure looked snazzy!


Even Dad got in on the action!


I really liked that ride – I had never been on it before and it was fun. E loved it too, which was a relief because he doesn’t really like too many rides.

But we did like a lot of the shows! We went to a Bug’s Life show (with more awesome 3-D glasses):




We rode the bumper cars (that go slower than a remote controlled race car!):


E was really excited that he got to drive the car. Although he didn’t even want to try it until we went the first time and he saw how slow they went. Then he was all ready for his license!



We also liked the little Heimlich train. Well, at least E did. ;)



I just liked being under those huge leaf canopies. I wish they had those all over the park – they’d come in handy on hot days like Friday!


Oh, and I have to record this, even if only just for posterity. E was so happy with the little Heimlich train ride that when we went on it a second time, he insisted on going by himself. I’m sure he was showing off how brave he was. However, the worker informed me that I had to sit somewhere on the ride. (Which I’m not sure why, because you could have ridden a bike with training wheels faster than this ride, but rules are rules I suppose.) So I told E that I’d be in the way back, far away from him. That seemed to go over well and he enjoyed being ‘brave’ for a ride all by himself.


We saw the Playhouse Disney show (er, I mean Disney Junior, lol) and E loved it! They had great puppets and a really-excited-to-be-onstage-with-Mickey performer girl. E’s favorite part was the stuff they released from the ceiling, like bubbles, little tissue paper ‘doubloons’ and streamers. He dashed around picking up as much as he could to take home for a treasure.

They had Little Einstein's, Handy Manny, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Jake & the Neverland Pirates (whatever that is. Remember we don’t have cable anymore so I’m not up to speed on the new shows):




little einsteins


Personally, I was just glad to get out of the heat and into the air conditioning, even if it meant I had to sit on the floor with the kids.

On the teacups:


Trying to pull the Sword from the Stone:


Being silly in line:


View of the pier from our spot on the boardwalk:


We stayed to watch the World of Color show. It was really great! Although I didn’t love having E on my shoulders for half of it. But at least he got to see. The music was awesome and I loved the trip down memory lane of all the old Disney movies. Except, of course, when they get to the Lion King and have to accentuate how Simba’s dad dies! I was like, “What, are they trying to make us all weep?”  And apparently, yes they were.


Against all odds, the hubby actually convinced E to give the Tower of Terror a try by saying it was just an elevator ride. I know, he’s the worst parent ever, right? ;) I know E enjoyed it a little, but for the most part he was as scared as I was! I will do roller coasters, but I just hate the feeling of free-falling. That’s the worst. And not just free-falling, but when the ride is pushing you down faster than gravity should be. Seriously, who likes that?? (Other than my hubby.)

I would have taken a picture of the Tower of Terror ride photo, but E was buried so far into me that you couldn’t even see him anyway. Plus the guy’s huge hair in front of us didn’t help either. But rest assured, he did go on it and at the end of the day, we asked him if it was just a tiny bit fun and he conceded that it was, but assured us that he would NEVER go on it again.

And finally, me and the hubby. On the train, totally beat from a long day, but SO happy to get to spend a fun day together!



I’m a Product Designer!

Well, sort of. ;)

As some of you may know, I’m a Layout Artist over at Scrap Girls. It’s a digital scrapbooking company that creates and sells digital scrapbooking supplies like collections & kits, 12x12 inch papers, embellishments, Word Art and alphabets. There are a lot more goodies as well, like the Jiffy Easy Page Albums that just debuted a couple of weeks ago! These are the coolest things because they’re layouts that come already made for you. And the best part? Each piece comes on its own separate layer so that you can move them around however you want in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements! All you have to do is open them up and start playing!

Recently I teamed up with Shalae Tippetts (who seriously has some of my favorite designs. She’s got great style!) to create a Jiffy Easy Page Album that is available now! I got to use all of her great products to create a beautiful 5-layout album. Here’s what it looks like:

Aren’t those colors just scrumptious??

Here are the samples close-up:

When you buy this album, you get all five layouts ready-made for you in .psd format as well as .png format for those who don’t use Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. All you have to do is open the file, insert your own photos into the parts that are black and gray (in the smaller sample above), type out your own journaling into the journaling boxes and you’re done! It’s really just that easy. And that means you can have quality layouts without having to go through the hassle of designing them yourself.

Are you not sure how to add your photos to the templates? Well, then stayed tuned to my blog because I’ll have a little mini-tutorial to share with you doing just that!

In the meantime, make sure you head on over to the Scrap Girls Boutique before midnight, April 12th because we’re having a GREAT BIG SPRING BREAK SALE! That’s right, normally this amazing Jiffy Easy Page Album sells for $9.99, but if you buy it today, you’ll get it for only $8.02! That’s a great deal, especially for such a versatile product that will let you impress your friends with your amazing digital scrapbooking skills! ;)

I know I sound like an infomercial, and for that I’m sorry. But I’m really proud of these albums and I put a lot of work into making them, and I want everyone to be able to have high-quality layouts even if they’re unsure about their skills in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. It’s definitely a win-win I promise!

Also, if you can think of any other kinds of albums that you’d like to see become available, just let me know! There are going to be more of these in the works and I want to make sure I create themes and albums that people will want.

Thanks! We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming soon. ;)



Well, my sister is a sneaky girl! She gave me the best surprise EVER this week. Let me tell you the story.

As I’m sure you saw, last week was my birthday and my family came to visit for their Spring Break, which coincided perfectly with the week. So we spent fun days at Disneyland, the beach, and hanging out together. Then the last of them left on Saturday night. All gone, bye bye. I was doing okay for Sunday and Monday, but then on Tuesday I was having a horrible day. Like a crying, feeling sorry for myself kind of day because all my family was so so far away and I really missed them. Ali (my little sister) had called me the day before to tell me that she mailed me a birthday package and it should be coming sometime Wednesday or Thursday.

So Wednesday rolled around, and my mother in law called me in the morning to see if she could come out to lunch with us and bring me her present. Of course, I thought, the boys will love to see her and we can have a fun lunch. So we set a time for 12:30 or 12:45 for when she would be out here. I then spent the whole of the morning working on Scrap Girls assignments, and getting completely engrossed in a lot of work. I looked at the clock on my computer and it said 11:08. Plenty of time to get ready, I thought, so I continued working. A few minutes later when I glanced at the clock, however, it had gone through a warp speed tunnel or something because it said 12:12!

Now, normally this would still be plenty of time to get ready, but since my mother in law is notorious for being early, I was panicked! I jumped up, ran to the bathroom to try and get dressed and ready to go. Exactly 3 minutes later, my sister called me on my cell phone to chat. I was just finishing getting dressed. She said, “I got an email that said your package was delivered, did you get it?”

I hadn’t heard any doorbell or anything, and I was pretty sure that the kids would have let me know had someone showed up at the door with a package, but I went to check it out anyway. I headed downstairs, still talking to Ali on the phone, and opened the door. I couldn’t see a package. But normally they deliver it to the side of the porch, so I turned to look at the side when someone JUMPED out from the side of the door and scared me half to death.


It literally took my brain a few long nanoseconds to comprehend that not only was I talking to her on my cell phone, but there she was at the freaking front door, standing in front of me!

As soon as I put 2 and 2 together, I screamed, grabbed her in the biggest hug and just started crying. Her standing on my front doorstep was a literal prayer answered from Heavenly Father that day and was exactly what I needed. I was completely overwhelmed that she would make this plan, that she was there and that I could have an Ali hug because I really needed one. :)

I just wish we had had a hidden camera on us so that I could have gotten that surprise on video!

And then, once my brain started catching up that this was actually happening, I had so many questions – is Jed here too? Did you drive here? You flew? How long are you staying? How did you get here from the airport? Lo and behold, my mother-in-law (whom I was starting to think would be here any minute) was in on it and had picked Ali up from the airport and brought her out. My hubby knew the whole time that Ali had been planning this (since Christmas!!) and had done a superb job of not saying anything. And I have to give a HUGE shout-out to my mom, who also knew about the surprise the whole time that she was here visiting and didn’t say a word! She didn’t even hint at it. I was completely and utterly surprised. And I really love surprises. ;)

So needless to say, we’re going to be having fun while she’s here for a whole week! I’m so excited, I just can’t believe it. I’m a very lucky and happy girl.


I can ride my bike with no handlebars, no handlebars, no handlebars

When my family was visiting last week, I had the idea to help my brother make some freezer paper T-shirts that he could take home as a little souvenir of his Spring Break ‘11. We brainstormed some ideas for the shirts and came up with some fun ones (if I do say so myself). I was glad they turned out well.

First, Jeff and I thought of the ideas, then we did some Google searching to get ideas, then I created a mockup shape in Photoshop. Then we printed it out and traced the image onto the paper side of the freezer paper. Once the design was traced, we cut it out, making a stencil for the shirts. Then we ironed the paper onto the shirt, making sure it was centered. After that, we painted the shirts with fabric paint, making sure to sponge it on as you would a stencil.

While we were waiting for the coats of paint to dry, Jeff had fun showing the boys his skateboard tricks outside. I wish I had gotten photos to share! Boo.

Once the paint was dry, we peeled off the freezer paper and revealed the awesome, one-of-a-kind T-shirts. Very, very fun. I love this type of project – one that I can accomplish in an afternoon, that’s customizable and one that the kids can help create. In this case, the ‘kids’ being Jeff, haha.

Here’s my favorite shirt:



It’s a great mustache shirt (mustaches are so IN right now, lol!) that has a handlebar, a petit handlebar, and a Fu Manchu. Perfect.

The other ones were a pair of glasses with some crazy hair on top, and a Cleveland Boarding Company logo. It’s one of his friends’ little company or something. What was cool was that we actually spray painted the reverse of that one. But of course, I didn’t get a photo before they left for Ohio. Maybe I’ll convince him to take one and send it to me so I can post it. I’m actually pretty proud of that one. :)

If you’re looking for a way to customize your own shirt and have lots of fun in the process, I’d recommend this craft. You’ll soon be addicted!


Are you watching?

It's General Conference weekend.

We don't have cable, so I'm watching here:


Come with me if you'd like. I promise you'll hear something that will uplift a tired and weary soul, because that's how I sometimes feel when faced with my many imperfections. But I'm always buoyed up after listening to these wonderful church leaders speak.



You all know I love Jimmy Fallon. Here's one good reason why:

If you don't know why this is funny, check out the original video here (which some have called the reason why the music industry is so lame these days...):



Did you know today’s my birthday??

I’m not even foolin’! And I’m going to be spending it with my family on the beach. Really, what more could I ask for?

Okay, maybe I could ask to stop getting old. I’d like that. ;)