Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Little Scrapbooking

Haven't been sharing much of my scrapbooking lately. Right now, I'm getting ready to head off to a scrapbook weekend next week so here's a few pages from the last few months.

Sometimes I feel like I cannot scrap another soccer page. Luckily I came across this great paper by Teresa Collins that made this a quick and easy page.

Ironically tomorrow is Jack's last day of preschool. So when I look at this, I can't believe how much he's grown and changed this year.

Another layout from preschool. We were given a little yearbook this week. On the first page the teacher included a certificate with their Christian characteristic. Jack's was endurance. This page probably sums up how she decided on that-he plays with these trucks every day at recess and spends the entire time racing with his buddies around the playground.

Well I'd love to take credit for this page, but I was so inspired by Debbie T. I copied most of it. And since it wasn't my idea, I'll just say I love it. Everything worked so perfect with my pictures. These pictures were taken a couple months ago and fortunately we're seeing a little bit less of the tantrums and mischievousness.

And here's one (and yes, Mom these were taken and scrapped before you were here) that I guess you can say that I scrap the good, the bad and the ugly-and this would be the ugly-Garrett's room. I don't think that he'll qualify as the dirtiest room in America, but it is certainly the room in the house I'm most likely to shut the door and try to forget what is behind it.

Well, I have loads more, but that's it for tonight!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pre-Trip Craziness

Right now I'm in the middle of post-trip craziness. There was a wonderful trip in between, but right now I thought I'd get a quick post in.

Nothing like waiting till the last minute, but I made this the night before I left for Jack to countdown the days until we would be home. Still, almost a week later, he keeps saying, "no more kisses till mommy is home."

I attached a piece of cardboard to the back of the cardstock and used a screwdriver to make holes. I then inserted Hershey Kisses with numbers glued to the bottom. I wasn't sure how it would hold up, but it was much sturdier when I expected.

And this binder is something I worked on for a good week that was the keeper of the schedule, directions, addresses, info, etc... That schedule nearly killed me as even till the night before new stuff was added. This is a crazy time of year. But everybody seemed to get where they needed to go, I think a couple good grandparents made sure of that!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Playing Soccer

With over 40 parks in the town I live in, to say that playing soccer is popular would be an understatement. In fact, the city is looking into adding additional parks to accommodate the demand.

Over ten years ago, I became a soccer mom (oh, and Garrett became a soccer player :-) ). The games were fun, the families were nice, the commitment was minimal and we were kind of swept up in the soccer mania. By the time Garrett was in second grade, we had a real super star on our hands. Or so we thought. My goal scoring, super dribbling son was apparently placed in the "B" league, meaning he was playing with players who were the bottom half of the skill level.
Insert deflated balloon here.

Well initially we were disappointed, but the following year when they had actual competitive levels, we figured Garrett would show them. But Garrett would not be playing soccer on a competitive team that year. In fact, these naive first time parents learned that it wasn't just the kids that played soccer.
Boy were we schooled in the art of navigating your child through the ranks of the soccer level.
Now I should make it clear, the truly great and gifted soccer players make their own path, but the rest of the "very good" players-let's just say it's who you know and what you have done for the club. And we knew no one and reluctantly participated in fundraisers so you can guess where we fell.
Without boring you with details the soccer club is structured like this for each of the age levels:
The higher your level, the greater the commitment, fees, training, and games.
For a couple years, Garrett tried to get on a competitive team, but unless you make it that first year, it is very hard to break through. By fifth grade a friend suggested he join him on the competitive team in another city and he did. For two years he played for a team that lost nearly every game, but he had a great time and loved the extended season of soccer. A coach from our town noticed him at one of the games and asked him to be a guest player. Finally, that opened the door and the following year he made the Advanced team. For two years he was team captain of that team and then last year he moved up to the Select. He seemed a little unsure of his value on this stronger team, but quickly he earned the coach's respect and the coach said if he were to give a Coaches award to any one player it would have been Garrett.
Well the tryouts we had learned to dread were scheduled last week. Our expectations were that Garrett would play for the same team, but strange things happen at these tryouts and because our club is very competitive, kids from cities up to an hour away come and try out. You just never know who is competing for your spot.
All weekend, we waited for the phone call, jumping when it would ring. Late Sunday afternoon, we got a call from some unknown business and it was the D1 Premiere coach calling to invite Garrett to play on his team. We. were. stunned.
Our family had agreed that whatever team he was asked to play for, he would play so I'm really not sure what we have gotten ourselves in for except practice starts in a couple weeks and games in June. Oh, and a big, fat check is required.

So in retrospect, we really thought we had done Garrett a disservice by not navigating the system correctly and getting him onto a competitive team early on. We figured we'd learn from our mistake and make sure Jack had it easier. But you know what, Garrett can honestly say he earned this spot through his own efforts, dedication, and hard work. He knows that the straight path may be the quickest, but perseverance pays off.

And that's how you play soccer!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ta Da...My Pantry

This was a labor of love. It was very laborious, but I love how it turned out. I'm fortunate to have a pantry. I'm especially fortunate because the storage in our entire house is dismal and poorly planned so my pantry must be used for storage of items that cannot be accommodated elsewhere.
So here's my "before" pictures. Nothing to be proud of that's for sure.

Now I don't want to name names, but there are 3 (and maybe a fourth who will remain anonymous) who are responsible for those before pictures. We do have a lock on our pantry, but some people and again I don't want to point fingers forget to lock it and some little fellow tends to think of this as his all-you-can-eat buffet.

Then one night, I was perusing blogland and came across this pantry. Oh my goodness, my heart it was all aflutter. I know some people feel this way when they see shoes or a purse, but this was my obsession. And then I came across this and I became completely obsessed with redoing mine. I looked and took notes on each of those pantries, mine was very similar in size so I tried to figure out what elements I could borrow from each that would a) fit my needs b) make it doalbe for a not so handy DIYer c) be affordable.

First, I knew my shelves had to go and that's where I spent the bulk of my budget. The shelves were thin particle board with a flat paint on them-impossible to clean. And we had added our own shelf along the top which did not match. So I contacted our cabinet guy and he put 1 inch think melamine shelves. That alone was a huge improvement.
I also spent some time shopping for containers. In the first pantry, she bought lots of her containers at thrift stores. Let me tell you, there are no thrift stores around here that are, um, thrifty! My friend and I went to an Antique Fair hoping to score some unique items, came home with an overpriced wooden crate, but struck out there as well. So it was trips to Marshalls, Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, Lowes and the Container store eying solutions for my pantry.

So with the new shelves in and all the food boxed up, next came my job. Painting. I love how bold the first pantry was, but I'm not that daring and really couldn't come up with a complimentary color that would look good in a pantry, so I went for a very light beige (boring, I know). I also knew at this point, that I did not want to be painting this again because I didn't like the color, so beige it is. I also loved the idea of the wallpaper in the second post. Chris did not. He's anti-wallpaper. But I love beadboard so he let me have my way. I just put it on the one wall and then painted it white. It's hard to tell from the pictures, but I'm really happy with the result. So here are (lots) of pictures of the after.

You can kind of see the beadboard here. To the left is an electrical panel which is why the shelves don't wrap around. That empty space right there is for my crockpot (need to get a new one). The bins below are from The Container Store. They are so far my favorite storage solution. One of them holds "Jack" foods and the other bulkier snacks that I removed from the boxes-popcorn, juice boxes, fruit bars, etc...

Those baskets I picked up at Lowes. I also did some rearranging of the food. I took the suggestion of moving the soup cans down low and it really is a better spot for them.

This is at the very top. I had it lower in the other pantry, but I realized that I don't access it very often and Jack was getting into them and making a mess, so to the top it goes. I keep cookie cutter, cupcake liners, plastic utensils, leftover party paper goods, etc.. Each drawer is labeled.

More baskets. One contains disposable containers, paper plates/cups and the other is extra wraps like foil, bags, etc...

I can't remember where I got this, but I've had this CPR poster taped to the inside of my pantry for years. I bought a cheap lightweight frame from Michaels and framed it. I also added a sticker with poison control's number on it.

This was the last thing I did-added vinyl numbers cut from my Cricut. Had this been the first thing, I might have put vinyl on everything. Wow, it's easy and kind of a fun break from scrapbooking (I may have a new hobby!).

I borrowed the idea to use some carousels in the corner. I love how this is now usable space. (By the way, in the old pantry I had two support boards that further prevented me from using this space. It's so much more open now.)

I put lunch bags, sandwich bags, some plastic utensils, Jack's snack bags-pretty much everything you need when making brown bag lunches.

Not a great picture, but inside this collage are pictures of the kids eating food. Kind of silly, but I think this is one of the things I like best.

Well thanks for taking a look. We are a month out from this completed project and I'm pleased to report that everything is still in it's place and it's been super easy to maintain.

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