Small Snail Mail

With my kids having cousins who live in Australia I love to encourage them to write letters and hope they continue to love it as much I do.   My girl asks almost every day when she sees me collect the mail if there is something for her ... and those days I can give her a 'yes there is' answer she is a happy happy girl!

We made these hello cards the other day and now that the recipients have received them I wanted to share them here.   A little scary or creepy? Maybe.  A lot of fun?  Absolutely!  I hear the recipients loved them as much as my kids loved making them. 
I love these because they are personalised since I used an actual photo of my kids and gave them a little extra personality using some bright and super fun googly eyes I picked up at the craft store.
The kids went to town choosing their own eyes and couldn't stop laughing at themselves as they glued them down.

I made these in photoshop by designing a 6 Inches Wide x 8 Inches Long template.  That way when I printed the finished document and folded it in half I would have a 6"x 4" Card.
I changed the photo to black and white on purpose .. so that the bright googly eyes would stand out.
Two super quick speech bubbles and hand written message and these were on their way to some happy cousins.

Of course this would be just as easy to make by printing a photo and simply glueing the photo on top
of the folded card.

Happy Mail for young writers .. what's not to love?

LA LA Loving Right Now

Last week I introduced my kids to my favourite way of eating ice cream.
You need three ingredients to make this delicious and sweet summery goodness:

1.  Vanilla Ice cream
2.  A waffle cone and ...
3.  A drizzle of HONEY!

Simple and sweet but that extra hit of sweetness makes is so so good!  Of course it's absolutely no revolutionary way of eating ice cream but it's kind of too good not to share.
My kids are fans but then again what sweet loving boy or girl wouldn't love the sticky and creamy goodness dripping down their hands?

Short and sweet post but again .. it's too good not to share! :)

You are Welcome.

A Collection// Afternoon Light and Her Favourite spot

She has a favourite spot in the house.  It's the step leading out to the backyard.
It's where she sits to say hi and pat the dog.
It's where she sits to eat her snacks on a nice day.  It's where she sits to eat her popscicles on a REALLY nice day.  
It's where she sits to do a little bird watching.
It's where she chooses to do her favourite activity which varies each week of course.  It could be playing with her little toys and putting them in their 'beds' or learning to sew or painting her nails and any willing member of the family's nails also.
It's where she sits and yells to me to come and see the flower/bug/leaf she just found.
It's where she sits and waits for me to come and help her on the monkey bars on our playground.
It's where her little brother likes to join her every once in a while when he is not running laps in the backyard.

It's where she sits to contemplate life and wonder what this thing called 'kindergarten' that everyone says she will go to next year is all about and whether she will make new friends and what her new teacher will be like.  That is for a different post though. :)

It's where she likes to sit in the afternoons when the mid afternoon sun is still bright enough to create shadows from the blinds and pergola covering our patio area outside.

It's her favourite spot and I have loved to capture these little moments of her over the last few months.

Welcoming Summer


We are in June already?  How did that happen?
Aaaah yes we have some tomatoes happily ripening, there are baby birds finding their wings and leaving their nests and other birds looking for discrete places to build their nest.  Trust me .. we did a lot of bird watching Sunday morning!   It's pretty much the unofficial start to the summer season around here and well this weekend very much felt like it!  Warm weather and lots of time playing with/in the water even if it's our teeny tiny inflatable pool ... but when this face smiles this big after spending  some time in his tiny pool it's all that matters to me!
He walked outside on Sunday, looked up at the sky and exclaimed "Is sunny. I need sunbock (sunblock).
He grabbed the suncreen face stick and proceeded to apply it to his face ..  he let me help him spread it around those squishable cheeks of his.
A minute later he demanded to "put on my simsuit (swimsuit).  He pretty much put the official 'start of summer stamp' in my book.   Oh my goodness that tiny voice of his expanding every single day with new vocabulary.  It's crazy to think how much he has changed since last summer! Crazy! 

I'm very much looking forward to a great summer .. this very vocal and active little boy of mine needs to be kept busy and I'm still figuring out our official must do's  but  this great printable from this creative lady got me motivated to start thinking and here's what I have so far.  I will let my five year old have her say on what she wants to do and add to it this week I'm thinking.

I'm very much looking forward to a great summer .. this very vocal and active little boy of mine loves being outside so I forsee lots of time enjoying our own backyard and we will definitely squeeze in a quite a few trips to the beach.  This great summer list printable from this creative lady got me motivated to start thinking about other summer must do's and here's what I have so far.  I let my five year old have her say on what she wants to do.  I hand wrote those in.
Our conversation went a little like this:

Me:  "Do you have anything you really want to do or make this summer"?
Her:  "Yes .. I want to make a butterfly".
Me:   " Ummm Ok.  What would you like to make it out of"?
Her:  " How about clay"?.

And so with a little oven bake clay we have one item ticked/checked of our list.
She is so awesome! 

Hope your summer brings lots of happy times and amazing memories are made!

For the love of Gold and Washi and ... Bunnies!

Easter is indeed right around the corner and I love a good .. and easy craft to do with the kids as much as any other mum. 
I found an easter craft on pinterest that I knew would fit the easy category with this cute Bunny Family made out of cardboard rolls.  We of course had to accesorize our family with gold ears and washi tape outfits.  I love how they turned out!

Here is the list of what you need:
 Two other things you need : A black marker pen and scotch tape.

And the Steps to make them are pretty quick and easy .. my almost five year old girl was an awesome helper with these guys!
1.  Collect your toilet paper/paper towel rolls.
2.  Cut any to the size you need to complete your family
3.  Paint the rolls with your white paint
4.  Allow paint to dry .. maybe 30 minutes?
5.  Make 'outfits' by rolling your washi tape around a couple of times.
6.  With the marker pens give your bunnies some happy or funny faces.
7.  Fold and attach your pipe cleaners in the shape of ears and attach to the roll with some tape and you have an adorable bunny family to play with or display.

At the very last minute my girl decided our bunnies needed some tails ... DUH!  Why didn't I think of that? And so with some cotton balls and glue we had four cotton tail bunnies hopping down the bunny trail. :))

Project Life Catchups

Last weekend proved to be very productive on the updating my project life album front.  
I was very happy about that because I was eager to print some of these photos.   I managed to complete four weeks of photos and my keeping as simple as possible .. with the teeniest bit of embellishment approach is working just fine and dandy for me!   There is A LOT of my own handwriting in not only the journaling but also some of the filler pockets.

FEBRUARY 17 - 23:

*  I'll jump to the exciting part of this particular week .. our Aussie Family came over the US to visit and stay with us!  There was a lot of cousin catching up moments that my camera captured and it made my hear super happy to watch my kids bond with their Aussie family!  

* That quote card I made using the digital version of the Amy Tangerine Plus One kit  and just typing the words and then printing out the cards .. sums up how I feel with this whole living away from family business.   I truly hope our kids always remember that!


Left Hand Side :

Right Hand Side:

Middle Inserts:
* Lots of hugs
* Lots of smiles
* An out of town adventure with my Aussie family to ... Dallas Texas (!)
* Being stuck in Dallas after our four day adventure turned into six because of a cancelled flight due to crazy crazy freezing weather. I had to put in a screenshot of the weather report from my phone.
 * We experienced all four seasons during those six days .. I still can't believe it went from glorious summer temperatures on a Saturday to Freezing temperatures the following day and thus we arrived at the airport (all eleven of us) and look up at the monitors and see the word CANCELLED for every single American Airlines Flight.    That meant finding a reasonably close hotel to camp out until first thing Tuesday morning.

Of course I took A LOT of photos and while they will not all be included in this album (I plan to make a digital book very soon that will include pretty much all of them) but at the same time two inserts just wasn't enough so to highlight two of my fave photos captured this week I added a
DESIGN G page protector along with an 8x10 page protector.
In the 8x10 .. I printed a black and white photo to fit on its own and on the back of that I did a super quick hybrid layout using one of the digital stamps in the Studio Calico Bluegrass Kit.

MARCH 3 -9 :

* A.Jam.Packed.Week!  That is is the truth in a nutshell
* The last two days in Dallas
* Some at home resting days 
* A certain little boy's third birthday .. spent at the Happiest Place On Earth
* A certain little girl meeting her two favourite set of sisters ... Elsa and Anna from Frozen
* Deliriously happy kids
* Lots of cake
* Lots of Smiles
* A day at the beach
* A Sunday Funday with a yummy lunch and shopping 
* Probably one of my favourite memories .. that my husband happened to capture is a photo of us four tired parents on a Saturday night, surrounded by Mickey balloons, on the couch, messy hair, pj's on, staring at the TV.  It had obviously been a long (but very happy) day.

* I love having the option of using some of the project life core kits in digital format.
For example .. I purchased the Amy Tangerine Plus One after eyeing it for the longest time but as soon as I read it was available in digital format I didn't hesitate and got it!
I love that I can transform the rounded corner cards into straight corners with a very simple crop in photoshop.  Too Easy!


* The final week we spent with our visiting family
* One day at Disneyland was not enough so we went back on Monday!
* This week was all about the selfie shots ... someday my kids will appreciate these (well .. I hope they do).

If you got to the end of this post .. Thanks for reading!
If you have any questions or just want say 'hi' don't hesistate to do so!
If you want to learn what Project Life is and ... start doing something with all those photos you are collecting check this out.

Long Distance Family Love

I have been calling California home for the last 12 years but seriously when I am lucky enough to be with some of my family in the same country (whether it be me visiting Brisbane or my Aussie family here in Southern California) it's a treat! Don't get me started on the saying goodbye part .. well I'll write more on that later .. I don't like the goodbye part.

The last three weeks we were lucky enough to enjoy the company of my sister, her husband and my two handsome nephews.  Now that there are kids involved in the equation .. living apart from my family has its sad moments.  My older sister and I have two kids each (and she has a third baby on the way) and they are all very close in age.  The fact that these cousins don't get to grow up together ... *insert big big sad face here*.  It really does get me down sometimes .. however I have to look on the bright side like my kids having international pen pals. Hello?  Happy mail is amazing.  Not to mention we have to thank our lucky stars that we live in the world of skype! 

 It's hard to believe just how quickly those three weeks passed by.  As I very slowly get back into my own little life routine now that they are back home in Brisbane Australia, I reminisce on the awesome moments we shared.  We shopped, ate, explored a new city (Dallas) and somehow ended up spending a few extra days in Dallas because of some crazy freezing weather, we celebrated a certain little boy's third birthday,  spent a couple of days saying Hi to Mickey and friends, had a beach day, ate some more, cousins reunited and we watched as they played nicely (and not so nicely), there were a lot of hugs, kisses and more beach time to round it all off.

Dallas was a fun adventure in many ways .. we explored a few new cities that could possibly be home someday (?!?).    What a contrast to California living  .. a nice contrast if you ask me!

And how could we forget our unexpected extended stay in Texas after some crazy (freezing) weather caused our flight back to Orange County to be cancelled.   We went from a gorgeous and HOT Saturday to waking up to heavy cloud, COLD temperatures and Freezing rain on Sunday morning  ... they day of our original flight home. 

After six days in the lone star state it was back to enjoying the predictable California Sunshine (funnily enough while we were in Dallas,  Southern California experienced its one and only winter rain storm which we just happened to completely miss).

 From February 26th-March 13th our little house was full.  With four kids under five, our house was loud.   But you want to know my least favourite part about living so far from family?
The day after we say goodbye and go our seperate ways.  Of course it's more like 'see you later'.  However, that day after my family leaves or the day after we arrive back to the USA ... when that loud noise and chatter goes away is no fun.  Experiencing the void that is left behind kind of hurts my heart a little.   My husband is a smart guy (one of the many reasons I love him so) he told me something  many years ago,  when we had our own 'see you later' experiences in the early stages of our own long distance relationship and that is:  to enjoy that moment (no matter how sad you feel), to really feel it because you will never get that moment back.  So I try .. I really really do.  He does a good job of reminding me of this every so often.  And I'm Ok with that because I need that reminder that's for sure!

Project Life

I'm back in this space to share the last two weeks of my project life.
I choose not to title my spreads with 'Week #' .. I like to just include the dates in which the photos were captured.  I fully intend to continue with the weekly spreads but just in case I miss a week for whatever reason (which wouldn't be the end of world) I would much rather know the actual date that it happened.  I like to use Monday-Friday.  Just my preference though :)

* My fascination with my kids and their love for picking flowers.  I am not sure when that fascination will pass but I will continue to snap a photo for as long as they let me.
* Another visit to our favourite zoo ...when there hasn't been any plans on the weekend the question arises "what should we do today".  More often than not my two year old's response is "the zooooo".
Since we go so often I like to challenge myself with the types of photos I take and the locations I take them at.   I could include the usual pic of the kids imitating the monkeys but you know .. I have to spice things up a tad.
* Lunch at the beach with a little play time and my daughter's love for collecting.  And when there is nothing else a moccasin works fabulously as a shell collection container.  Love Her!
* Outgoing Happy Mail ..

And Now The First Week of February 3rd-9th:
The Left Side:

The Right Side:

* A very strange sight here in Southern California .. Rain!  Ha!  I mentioned early that Thursday morning that it might rain ... and it was all the kids kept asking me about the entire day.   Needless to say once it came down it was all about the puddle jumping.
* I snapped some quick photos during two of my errand running days with my little sidekick.  Let's just say some days are easier than others with my feisty, independent not wanting to hear the word no two year old boy.  Insert ** big sigh**.
*  One of my favourite moments this week .. a quick date night to disneyland to ride Space Mountain .. just the the two of us.   This is a photo of a photo .. yep definitely could not bring ourselves to pay the price they ask for the printed pic so this will have to do!  But I just had to get a copy of it somehow because our faces are priceless. 
* My want to be gardener getting her hands dirty.
*  A little piece of art drawn by my girl after we returned home from her pre kindergarten testing .. it was obviously a big moment for her (just as much as her parents) that she felt the need to document just what happened moment by moment. 
* A proud moment where my girl just couldn't contain her excitement after she realised she was swinging all by herself.  I expand on the extra insert below.

I obviously went a little overboard with the picture taking of my girl on the swing.
I couldn't pick a favourite and because I felt it was special moment I included a bunch of photos sized down to 2x2 and used a coin pocket page to display them in.  A tiny bit of journaling and some brush script and I kinda like how it turned out.

Thanks for looking!