Sunday, July 23, 2006

Effer Dares

I've been following the Effer Dares for a while now. These gals are the pinnacle of artsy scrappin'. Every week they post a dare or challenge to create a scrapbook page based on the inspiration they present.

This week's dare was about "positive self-talk". I'm not usually a self-promoter in my scrapbooks, so this was an original dare for me. Last week our yoga instructor taught us about the chakras and we did a chakra-based workout. Since that was still on my mind, I used that as inspiration for this dare.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

P.F. B. dinner

P.F. B. dinner
Originally uploaded by brungrrl.
The hubby made PF Chang style lettuce wraps for dinner on Thursday. They were YuuMMMy.

It was a lengthy recipe with a list of ingredients a mile long. I sure as heck wouldn't have attempted it. :-)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

the library comes to me!

Here are some things that are making library use very easy these days!
This is mad-convenient. Get out your library card and give it a whirl. Soon you will be accessing your library’s info regarding that topic you just can’t seem to get off your mind.
Coming soon! Can’t wait for this. Beyond the first entry… this one will let you find in any library that provides access to their information.
Build your own library! Ok, so it’s a lot different than the others. But it is a good way to get recommendations for other books based on what you own and like.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

altered card box

altered card box
Originally uploaded by brungrrl.
This is another altered container made with stuff from the Scrapologie July kit. I got this box at a church yard sale several weeks back. (Notice a pattern here with the church sales... they are a rockin' place to find stuff!) I guess it was a stationery box of some sort, covered in a dated contact paper.

So I got out the mod podge and got busy on it. The biggest challenge was in figuring out which way to go with the papers. I decided to use one paper on the front/bottom and a different paper on the top/back. I made the sides the same and brought it around the top with a curve to make it look a bit more detailed.

All the papers are from the scrapologie kit except the black with white polka dots. The ribbon is also some I had on hand (not from the kit).

The giant flower is made with the KI Memories alphabet soup paper. It's pretty bold, so I cut another one with polka dot vellum to diffuse it a bit. Added a couple more flowers and a giant brad for a center... and voila!

Can I say, I am LOVING the white pen? I have a white Signo Uniball pen and a Zig Opaque Writer in white. Theresa thinks I'm crazy ever since the clear gelly roll pen. (Emperor's new clothes for scrapbookers, anyone?) So wait til she finds out about my love for the WHITE pen!

Anyway, to finish the box, I accented the designs with "greetings" you might put on homemade cards. This box is for my sister-in-law Jen who makes cards. But, shhh, it's a secret! ;-)

new yard art

gnome with binoculars
Originally uploaded by brungrrl.
We had a new lawn ornament this morning when we got up. Apparently, he's the nosy sort. We were pulling out of the garage to go to church when we spied this mischievous little gnome.

I have a few guesses on where it came from. What are your thoughts?!


Saturday, July 15, 2006

it's psychological.

We got pedometers at work as an incentive to get healthy. We are challenged to walk 10,000 steps each day. O.m.g… I was out walking last night when I really wanted to be crafting. Every step thinking, “am I there YET?!”

The pedometer plays mind games with you. You know you don’t HAVE to… but the pedometer is on your hip sitting at 1500 steps for the day and you think, “Wow, I got VERY little activity today.” So off you go. Walking every street, every court in your neighborhood until well after it gets dark.

So if you need incentive to go for a walk. Get a pedometer and set a goal. You will either rejoice or rue the day that you started. :-)

tomato mozzarella salad

tomato mozzarella salad
Originally uploaded by brungrrl.
Here is a lovely summer treat. Tomatoes are a summer favorite around here. Cut 'em up in a bowl, add mozzarella balls, fresh basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

We had this last night with corn on the cob, grilled chicken, and iced tea.

Friday, July 14, 2006

meal plans

The other night the hubby and I planned out meals for the next two weeks. The idea is twofold: (1) we take turns making dinner and (2) we each learn to make something new once in a while.

Of course, there has to be some competition. So John thinks we should rate each other on taste, presentation, etc. This could be fun…

Last night I made a Pampered Chef Florentine Garden Ring. I’ve had it before, but hadn’t made it myself since I got my baking stone. It was delicious. John loved it.

The oven is a disaster now… guess I will clean it this weekend.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

the power of a minute

The other day I was listening to my iPod and I heard (really heard) about one minute of a great song. My whole mood changed. It made me think, what else can change your whole outlook in a minute or less? So I made a list of things that do it for me:

The best things in life that last a minute or less:
  • a kiss
  • a hug (and I mean a genuine HUG)
  • the best part of your favorite song
  • seeing a hummingbird
  • a piece of chocolate candy
  • lightning (from a distance!)
  • a "hello" smile/wave/honk from a stranger
  • voicemail from a loved-one
  • smelling a flower
Speaking of hanging onto the little things for cheer... here is something else that got me thinking: Melody Ross of Chatterbox (who doesn't love Chatterbox?! Journaling Genie, anyone?!) blogged about dealing with depression this week. It's an insightful post. Check it out. Scrapbooking is usually about the sunny side of life. So it's insightful to hear another respected scrapper shout out on life's challenges.

And that reminded me of my friend Johnny Mac's post about community and isolation. His post made me think of our friend Erin and how she suffered so in the midst of SO MANY friends and people who loved her. It made me think, "I'm getting what I need... is there someone who needs ME right now?"

So ANYWAY! I'm having a crappy day and I'm hanging onto those little things that last less than a minute. What turns your day around (or just keeps you going) in a minute or less?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

poke salad annie... gator's got your granny

Ah yes... vacation. It seems miles and light years away now. But to fill you in... (and so I don't soon forget it...) here 'tis.

So we made the stop in Charlotte on the way down. We just sort of meandered our way there on Saturday. It was nice to take it slow and not rush to relax (seems contradictory, right?). So on Sunday we got up and had breakfast and headed the rest of the way. We figured on a 3 hour drive, but it ended up being 4 hours, no biggie. We didn't get caught in any traffic, so that was nice. And we went off the highway to go around Columbia on a very nice 2 lane road. It was perfectly straight, and since everyone was at church, the road was ours.

We got to Huntington Beach with plenty of daylight to spare. Since we were guests to my aunt and uncle's camper where there was limited space (with 4 adults, a pre-teen, a dog, and an odd cat), we were living out of the trunk of Mom's car. So nothing to unpack. We just found our swimsuits, lathered on the sunscreen, and flip flopped to the beach. I think we did some body surfing that day, walked the beach, and took a nap. I remember the nap because I was sort of in and out and it was sunny AND it was sprinkling. And I remember thinking, "It's raining. No, it's sunny. No, it can't be sunny if it's raining. Well it is. You must be dreaming. Ok, night, night." STACE! You wanna go for a walk? "Uh... what? who? Ok..." I was awake, no more rain in the sun.

The next day was QUITE eventful. We got up at 5:30am in order to be on the beach at dawn. We took our cameras and headed for the jetty. The jetty is in Murrell's Inlet, about 2.75 miles up the coast by way of the beach. It's just out there in the ocean, beckoning. Ok, truth is, my mom won't shut up until we walk all the way there and back, no matter how much pain it causes us. It was nice to go at sunrise. Few people on the beach. The light was spectacular for photographs. It was quite the memory.

After the walk we had breakfast and I took a nap. (Do you see the pattern yet?!) Nothing like waking up from a nap around 10am. We called the kayak company to see if they had added an additional excursion that day... we were in luck! It was on like donkey kong at 12:30pm. Mom and I headed to Oyster Landing just north of the park. It's a saltwater marsh filled with oysters, crabs, swamp grass, and part time sea water.

Our group had to wait for a couple chics in swim skirts and flip flops before we could get started. One introduced herself as SPARKLES. We thought, "Grrreat... she's gonna hold up the whole trip." Our guides gave us some instruction, and we shoved off. The group started paddling after the guides... while Mom and I paddled the other direction in our tandem kayak. We exchanged a few words with each other and then paddled in yet another direction. And then back around in a circle before we got headed anywhere near our group. Luckily,one of the guides stayed back with us. We caught up to the group once or twice when they were stopped. Only because once we were going fast, we couldn't stop and we'd just crash into them.

We spent two hours rowing like crazy through the marsh. Mostly, we were working against each other... it was pure torture. Great scenery... never riding tandem with my mother in anything, ever again! (Sorry, Mom.) We got a divorce as soon as we got out of the kayak.

Camping with my aunt and uncle isn't like real camping. The RV is air conditioned and my aunt whips up gourmet meals lickety split every night. We were mere steps from the ocean. A boardwalk path leads from the campground to the beach. Only other campers were on our beach during the day. It was MUCH less crowded than the public beach. And there were stretches of beach where there wasn't a soul in sight.

On Tuesday we watched fireworks from the beach after dark. There were fireworks south and north of the park. The moon was out, there was a breeze, the waves crashing... it was fabulous. A wonderful 4th of July!

Let's eat.

Ah, our friend Jenny. What will she think of next? She constantly torments us with stories of her OTHER friends. You know, her work friends... the classy friends. The smart friends. They go to fancy restaurants and read books... while we, the down-home, barbecue-lovin, movie-goin friends cry on each others shoulders.

Don't worry - we always tease her about this. She likes to pit us against each other... if we compete for her favor, it can only work out well for her. And you know what? We like her other friends. So maybe we will just add them to our group...

Muhaha! Jenny is providing us with a way to do just that. She has organized a monthly dinner outing for friends and friends of friends. Anyone is welcome, you just have to be a chic... no boys allowed. One person in the group selects the restaurant, date, and time. We meet up and chow down and chit chat about anything and everything under the sun. Dianne won the contest for naming the group. It's called FORK. That's it, just FORK. And as you can imagine... there are rules and competitions, just as with all things Jenny...

Check out the FORK blog at

Friday, July 07, 2006


Here's the beginning of our vacation stories.... Mom and I just returned from a week at Huntington Beach with my aunt & uncle...

Saturday. July 1, 2006.
6:30am. Hit the highway headed for Charlotte! Mom drove the Ohio and West Virginia portions of the trip. We made a stop in Ripley for breakfast and in Beckley at Tamarac for some shopping. Tamarac is such a good time... GREAT shopping. I got a ceramic wall pocket for our house. (Just in case the perfect souvenir eludes me at the beach!) It has a maple leaf on it. It should go nicely in a grouping with the photos and pressed leaves I am working on putting in a collage at home.

We made a stop for lunch somewhere in North Carolina. We went to a flea market that was about as horrible as horrible gets. But to save that stop from being a complete waste of time, we had lunch at Arby's, where one of the employees entertained us in a chicken costume. Not every day you encounter a life-size chicken.

Back on the highway, we were in Charlotte before 3pm. We checked into the Doubletree Guest Suites, which was indeed right next to the Symphony Park. Folks had already covered the park with picnic blankets saving spots for later that night. We got hot chocolate chip cookies at check-in. Yum! Incentive to stay at Doubletree more often!

It's amazing how tired sitting in the car makes you. I was so zonked! We napped for an hour or so and watched tv in order to pull ourselves together for a night out. Then we hit the mall. Ooops. It was a great mall... one store after another full of cool stuff. We each bought a couple clothing items. And we kept on shopping right through the start of the symphony concert. So we swung by the car and put away our shopping treasures and picked up our lawn chairs.

The park was jam-packed! The stage was in the middle of a pond in the center ofthe park. There were people sitting on every side. We squeezed in just behind the stage on the back side of the park. We nestled in between some shrubbery. The music was fantastic. It was a beautiful moonlit night. And then... fireworks at the end!