Friday, March 29, 2013

A Weekend Challenge

Just popping in real quick-like to tell you just a couple things.

1.  I hope you have an amazing Easter weekend.  I could go on and on about how excited I am for worship on Sunday morning (He is ALIVE!!!), but in the name of being succinct I will resist.  Be safe and be joyful.

2.  Spring is finally showing up and I am thrilled.  My mood has already started improving!

3.  I have a challenge for you that will make much more sense come Monday morning, but just indulge me.  Ok? 

Here goes.

Photobomb someone this weekend.  



We'll talk Monday morning, kids.

Five Minute Friday: Broken

Writing is like any other skill; it requires practice.  Today I am trying out something new to give my writing chops a workout.  It's called Five Minute Friday.

Here are the rules as laid out by Lisa-Jo, aka "Gypsy Mama" -

Basically, you set a timer for five minutes and just WRITE.  No editing, no stopping to second-guess yourself, just a free flow of your thoughts hitting paper....keyboard....whatever.  She gives the topic and then you just GO.   Then you link back to Lisa-Jo and invite others to join in.

So this is me....taking the Five Minute Friday challenge.  Feel free to join in!  Just go for it and write for five minutes on today's theme:  Broken.  I'd love for you to share in the comments the link to your post.  And be sure to link back to the Five Minute Friday hub!


I just made some hard boiled eggs for breakfast, as has become my habit over the last several days.  Trying to eat better, you know.  Instead of pancakes or cereal (apparently empty carbs are evil.  Who knew?), I've been trying to start my day off with a jolt of protein.  Usually I make three eggs and eat one of them with the yolk and only eat the whites of the other two.  I'll let you know when it turns me into a supermodel.  In the meantime, I immediately thought of these eggs when I read today's theme was "Broken."  When the egg is done, I take it and I smash it down....over and over.  I smash it into the counter until the surface of its shell is covered with cracks, irreversible change that leaves the egg forever vulnerable.  Quite frankly, it is ruined.

Friends, that is how I feel so often.  When I look at some of the things from my past and even some of the struggles of my present, I feel like I have cracks spreading across the entire surface of my being.  Every time I yell at my kids - SMASH.  Every time I lose my temper with my husband - SMASH.  Every time I fail to pipe up and stand my ground when there is something wrong happening - SMASH.  Every time I remember my terrible sin - SMASH. 

I'm broken.  And I feel like everyone can see it.

Now, nothing can give that egg back the smooth, pristine, unblemished shell it once had.  But today, on Good Friday, I am reminded that I am far more precious than any stinking egg.  I am a chosen, bought and paid for, daughter of the King.  He went to the cross and looked at me, with the cracks spreading across my tear-soaked face, and He suffered in my place.  Those cracks are filled in with his grace as his blood courses through the rifts.  They fade and then disappear all together.

I am left whole.  Smooth.  Polished.  Pure.  Clean.

I am no longer broken.  By his wounds, I am healed.

Happy Good Friday.

(Time's Up.)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Building an Arena

The world of blogging is really weird and the subdivision of Mommy Blogging is downright wacko.  I can say this because I am one of these freaks, so I can use that term with love.  Why would I use the word "freaks" to describe the women of the Internet, myself included, who take time out of our already busy schedules as mothers to plunk down in front of a computer and spend hours pondering, analyzing, creating, and publishing content about our life and family to share with millions of strangers?

Because it's crazy, that's why.

When I really take a moment to step out of my own skin and look from the outside at the why/how/when/what of my role as a blogger, it makes me shake my head a little.  Do I love it?  Yup.  Am I happier when I am producing current, relevant, quality content?  Absolutely!  Do I thrive on the positive feedback and feel crushed by the negative?  You betcha!

Wait.  Uh oh.

That's a problem, see.  As someone who already struggles with using approval as a motivating factor that guides my life, this is something that can really be a trap for me.  When I see my comment number climb higher and higher, my self-esteem follows suit.  But when a post I labored over for days with more effort than some women require to birth a child yields the dreaded ZERO comments, I feel betrayed, worthless, and unloved.  Clearly, if the Internet doesn't find me fabulous.....well, then the "real world" must feel similarly.

I'm pretty sure there was a pretty smart dude by the name of Paul who wrote about the dangers of seeking the approval of men/women/mommy bloggers over the opinion of God.  Ok, so maybe the scripture didn't specifically mention mommy bloggers, but it certainly pertains to me!  :)

So I need to work on this.  Now, let's be clear.  I'm by no means saying anything like "Stop commenting so I can work on my soul!"  I like comments.  Comments help me understand what is and what isn't working in terms of my topics, tone, and relevancy.  They are like the compass the guides the direction of my focus on the blog.  Without them, I would have no idea if what I was writing was flopping or scoring, so please keep writing them.

What I need to think about on a more personal level is how much weight I am putting on the opinions and approval of others, both in my "real life" relationships and my online ones.

With that in mind, I have been wrestling recently with what direction I want to take Arena Five.  I'm certainly not a big name blog with millions of hits every month or even a moderately sized blog with thousands of hits each day.  Do I want to try to grow?  Yes, I think so.  Do I want to start hosting ads to earn revenue?  Not sure yet.  Or perhaps it would be better to stop trying to keep biggering and biggering.  It didn't work out so well for the Once-ler.

(Sorry, the kids watched The Lorax recently.)

Heck, at this point I'm not even sure exactly what kind of Mommy Blog it is that I write!  I write about my goofy kids a lot, but I've also become a scrapbooking blog and (much to my surprise) a fashion blog!  To a certain extent, I've even started venturing into the realm of the spiritual blogging as well.  So, where do I fit?

Gracious mercy.  I feel like a young teenager trying to find a spot at the high school cafeteria table all over again.  Do you stick to the familiar and go sit with your small little group of friends you've known since elementary school or do you throw caution to the wind and land at the large group of popular girls in the hopes that they will actually turn out to be pretty amazing and welcome you into their fold as well? 

And now I've broken out into a cold sweat and feel a strong urge to listen to something by Destiny's Child.  Creepy.

Yes, we freaks of Mommy Blogging can be a real flock of odd ducks, but at the end of the day we have something important to say.  Sometimes it's just a rant about how the baby used his poop as paint, but even that can remind a reader on the other side of the computer screen that their frustrations that day were not unique and that we are in this together.  Reading a blog could bring a much-needed smile, a burst of encouragement, a laugh, or even an introduction to a Savior. 

I'm going to keep going.  I'm going to keep writing.  I'm not sure yet what direction to steer the course, but I trust it will become clear.

As long as you tell me in the comments.

Joking.  (Sort of.)

Love you!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday - "Bring Spring!" Edition

Here's a question for you.  What do I do for WIWW when I'm pretty sure I've shared just about every outfit I have?  I don't want to just start posting photos of stuff I've already showed you, but I most certainly do not want to stop sharing on WIWW.  It's fun series, is it not?

Decisions, decisions.

Help me, won't you?  Can you give me some input on what I should do moving forward in this series?

Thanks so much.

And now.....CLOTHES!

 Blouse - LOFT, Skinny Jeans - NY & CO, Boots - gifted, Necklace - Buried in my cupboard

This top was featured on my WIWW - Dressing Room Edition post.  My husband thought it was too loose on me, but I think that had less to do with the style of the top and more to do with the fact that he seems to think everything I wear needs to be form-fitting now.  I like that this top is spring-esque and loose enough to be comfortable, but still flattering.  I'm a big fan of a top that doesn't require me to wear SPANX to make it acceptable.

 Orange Sweater - Francesca's, Black tank - Maurices, Silver Jeans - Maurice's, Leopard flats - Target

This outfit was another one of those "I can't believe it is STILL winter" outfits where I had to wear a scarf for warmth, but insisted on wearing flats with bare feet.  I'm a dork.

 Brown sweater - Target, Orange top - The Limited, Teal Scarf - Target, Skinny jeans - NY &co, Boots - gift

So comfy!  And I know orange and teal might be a bit of a stretch to put together, but I'm so obsessed with that scarf that I try it with pretty much every top I own.

 All Maurice's for this outfit!  (except the shoes - Target)

There was one day where the temperature tried to creep up toward 40 degrees and I wore short sleeves in celebration.  I also realized that I have very little in my closet that is going to work for spring into summer.  Perhaps that's why I'm extra-excited to see what shows up in my Stitch Fix box on Friday!! 

And now for my most stylish outfit of the last couple weeks!  I rocked a pair of workout pants several layers of tank tops and long-sleeved t-shirts, and a bocce sweatshirt (yes, the famous one) to run the Madison Shamrock Shuffle with my good friend Julie.  It was about 20 degrees at race time, so I was more interested in staying warm than looking snazzy.  It might not be the cutest outfit I've worn recently, but it's the one I'm most proud of.  :)

Linking up once again over at The Pleated Poppy for some amazing fashion inspiration!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Project Life Tuesday - Week 6

The Mom CreativeWelcome to Project Life Tuesday!

I started using the Project Life system in 2010, so this will be my fourth full year!   

I am not a "fancy scrapbooker."  There are so many people out there doing some very impressive things with their Project Life albums that involve a combination of digital skills, pretty embellishments, and other fancy-pants techniques.  I'm not one of those.  I keep it pretty simple so that I know I can keep up and avoid becoming overwhelmed.  To me, it's more important to keep the memories than it is to make them look like they came out of a magazine.  I'm totally fine with it if my layouts feature more iPhone photos than DSLR shots and Instagram is my friend.

I do like to have fun with it though.  :)

If you're looking for inspiration on what others are doing with their Project Life, you can check out my board on Pinterest and be sure to link up on The Mom Creative!

And away we go with Week 6!

Yeah, so I apologize to anyone out there who might be experiencing "Baby Itch" because this post is guaranteed to make your uterus do somersaults.  It documents the birth of my niece in all its glory without revealing any of my sister's lady-parts.  Aren't I the most considerate sister ever?  I promised her I wouldn't put any photos of her nether regions on the blog, but that didn't stop me from getting a little snarky when I wrote about Evalyn's birth story!

Left Page:

I don't really count myself a photographer, but I was giddy over the amount of light coming in the window of my sister's hospital room.  It made it so easy to get some incredible shots of Evalyn's entrance into this world.

I used a Cathy Z template for this Instagram of my sister walking the halls and the "L" card is borrowed from the Baby Edition for Him.

The "hello my love" digital stamp from Ali Edwards was just perfect for that top photo.  I love it so much.

Two things about this.  First, look at my prize.  Isn't she the cutest thing you have EVER seen??!! Second, check out this journal card.  I absolutely never get to do anything girly in my scrapbooks being the mama of three boys so I jumped at the chance to bust out think pink polka dot letter from an old set of Valentine's letter stickers I found.  I love how subtly feminine this card wound up.

Design G:

I just want to stare at these photos.  They make me so happy.

Journal cards are from the Seafoam kit and the "You and Me" sticker was buried in my stash.  It was perfect for the Instagram of me and my prize!

This is not Evalyn's official birth announcement, but rather just another photo of her that I just put her birth info on in PSE.

(How's your uterus, ladies?)

Flipping Over.....

I used another Cathy Z template for the Instagram on this side and then I used this "Remember" brush on the photo in the lower right corner:

I just changed it to pink to make it more "girly!"

Ok, moving on to the last page.  So sorry if I've incited any kind of "I need another baby now!!!" response from any of my readers.  Unless, of course, you were just waiting for an excuse to hop back on the baby-making bandwagon in which I say to you, "Yay for you!!"


Right Page:

Taking photos of my prize kind of dominated the use of my DSLR this week, so this page is made of entirely iPhone photos.

A quick little snippet about the Super Bowl and a photo to document the Leap Pad Tragedy of 2013.

And there you have it!  Sorry for the lengthy post this week, friends.  Don't forget to check out what I've been doing with Thomas' Baby Book that I've been working on bit by bit while I keep up with 2013 as well.

Thomas' Baby Book with Project Life:
See you next week for another edition of Project Life Tuesday!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Time Keeps on Slippin', Slippin'

Raise your hand if, like my husband and I, you have risen from your bed in the morning all bleary-eyed and cranky only to stumble through your morning and mutter to yourself, "I really need to go to bed earlier."

Our schedule is nuts.  My hubby goes to work around 7 am and while he is doing his thing at the office, I am in charge of keeping the kids from burning the house down.  Somewhere in the late afternoon hours, I get myself ready for work and (hopefully) get a dinner game plan ready for Evan and the boys.  When my beloved walks in the door, we have about 90 seconds to give each other a quick run-down of what has taken place during the day and what's on tap for the evening before I give each of the members of my family a quick kiss and get in the car.  I then put in my hours as a waitress, working until usually about 10:00 pm.  I will hit the gym after work if I get out a bit early, but most of the time I am working late enough that I just come straight home.

If you're playing along at home, you've realized that I don't get any quiet time alone or quality time with my husband until about 10:30 at night.  It used to be that we would then stay up until about midnight or so before finally going to sleep, only to rise exhausted around 6:00 am.

We finally decided we had to have a bedtime.  We settled on a 10:30 bedtime where, if we are both at home, we stop whatever we are doing and just go to bed.  Even if we are in the middle of a show or a movie, we pause it where we left off and finish it a different time.  If I am not home from work yet, Evan goes to bed without me.

After just over a week of living with our new bedtime I have made several observations.

1.  I am significantly less tired in the morning.  This may have more to do with the fact that my husband has been bringing me coffee immediately upon rising than the amount of rest I am getting, but I'm not about to look a gift horse in the mouth.

2.  I am way behind on several things.  I am behind on Project Life, blogging, photo editing, and numerous other projects I have going simultaneously.  I would often stay up late working on these things so losing that time has really put me in the hole.  I'm trying not to let it bug me, but it really is.  When I try to get blogging done while the baby is awake, I have found it to be....challenging.

3.  My time in the Word has dropped drastically.  This one is absolutely unacceptable.  I can't blame this struggle entirely on the bedtime, but it's more a combination of several circumstances.  The frustration I have encountered with trying to find the right time to meet with God every day is a real hot point for me.  I welcome any suggestions!

4.  I can't talk to anyone about TV.  We are WAYYYYY behind on the few shows that we actually watch on a regular basis so when I hear people discussing the most recent episode, I have to put my fingers in my ears and sing songs from "Mary Poppins."  Then people think I'm weird.

So, I think it's a work in progress.  Hard to say whether or not it has been a positive change in our world or not, but perhaps some more time will help.

Do you have a bedtime?  Or perhaps you have some time management tips that help you make the most of each day?  I'd love to hear about it!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Shufflin' in Celebration

It was one year ago this month that I got my butt up off the couch....and went shoe shopping.  I returned home with a pair of white and purple running shoes that I vowed would be my ticket to a new life, the kicks that would be the key to kicking my slothful ways and losing the weight.

Friends, I had no idea what I was doing.  I used to joke that the only way you would ever see me running is if something sinister were chasing me.  See, I made jokes about it because I was overweight and couldn't even imagine what it would be like to run.  On purpose.  Like, for fun.

So, in March of 2012 I strapped on my new Brooks shoes and downloaded the Ease Into 5K app on my husband's iPhone because my P.O.S. Droid phone couldn't handle it.  I started slowly by following the plan's instructions of alternating short intervals of running with long intervals of walking.  After the first two days, I felt like I was going to die.

No joke.  I'll never forget asking Evan to help me stretch out my legs because they were screaming in pain so badly that I felt like it just might be in my best interest if he put me down like a horse with a broken leg.  I laid back on the couch and we was pushing my leg back toward my head to stretch out the muscles and I was hollering in pain only to realize what such a position much have looked like to a random passerby who happened to be walking by our very uncovered living room window at the time.  So I was not only in pain, but also mortified.

But I kept going.

I ran a 5K distance for the very first time in May of 2012 and then it was just about making it a habit and doing it faster and faster.  I was supposed to run my first official race on Labor Day last year, but then I came down with a terrible stomach flu the night before and lost out on my shot.

It was all as it should be because it made my personal victory at the 2013 Madison Shamrock Shuffle that much sweeter.  It was poetic justice.

One Year and seventy five pounds later, I completed my first 5K race.

My dear friend Julie signed up to run this race with me and I was slightly intimidated by the fact that she has run several 5Ks in the past and has also completed a triathalon.  We dressed in our green get-ups, complete with sparkly shamrock tiaras, and I geeked out a little when I got my first racing bib.  I'm seriously the biggest dork on the planet.

We headed down State Street with about 5,000 other race participants and I got myself all jacked up as the seconds counted down to the start of the race.  They played "Jump Around" which is like catnip to Badger students and alumni so of course I was jumping up and down like a lunatic.  Quite frankly, it served to be a pretty decent warmup since the temperature in the sun was hovering at around 20 degrees or so.

The environment was absolutely electric, but I would be lying if I said the race was easy.  Any Wisconsin alum will tell you that running up Observatory Drive, the road that snakes up Bascom Hill, is no joke.

But I did it.

My goal was to finish the race in less than 30 minutes.

I approached the finish line and started to push myself as hard as I could.  Well, as hard as I could without dropping my iPhone, of course.  Girl's gotta Instagram, you know.

I saw the clock ticking on the side of the chute and I knew I had done it.  I did a victory fist pump in the air as I crossed the finish line and I knew justice had been served.

My official time was 27:48.  My average mile was 8:57.  I finished 57th out of 420 in my 20-29 age division, which makes me pretty proud considering I am now officially at the very tippy top of that age bracket!  As soon as Julie finished the race we high-fived and congratulated each other on a job well done.

Then we re-hydrated with beer.

The race was so much fun, but it was more than that for me.  It was validation that I had accomplished a big goal.  It was confirmation that I was no longer the same person I was a year ago.  It was a reminder that it is possible to make a decision to change and to do it.

What's up next?  I'd love to run at least one more 5K race this year, possibly even two if I can manage it into my schedule.  Then in 2014 I will run a 10K.

By the time I turn 35, I want to complete a half marathon.

Now excuse me while I go brush my teeth and gargle Listerine because I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

State of Unrest

A few days ago, a very sweet person left me a comment asking about how we were doing on our Total Money Makeover.  She had noticed that I hadn't posted about it in a while and was wondering if I had any tips or advice to share with staying on track.


See, what this darling gal didn't know is that our finances had been a pretty hot topic in our house for the last couple weeks.  "Hot" as in tense discussions were abounding, lips were being drawn into straight lines, fingernails were being chewed on until they bled, and words were being said that probably shouldn't have been.

The short answer on how we're doing?  NOT WELL.

Not well, at all.

We had this down, you guys.  We sat down every Sunday night and entered our spending for the previous week in a spreadsheet and then dispersed our cash into envelopes for the upcoming week.  I paid bills online and entered those in the spreadsheet and then we would close the computer and breathe a sigh of relief because we know we were in control of every dollar that went in and out of our home.  We saved up money to put a roof on our cash.  We paid off every single credit card.

We purchased a cash.  Flying high and having a big and "not really rich but we feel like it" time.

Then we found out Evan's job was being transferred and we shifted our priority from paying off debt to saving for a down payment on a new house.  We scrounged and saved and were blessed enough to even be gifted enough money to make it happen and (praise God!) we moved into our new home in August of last year.

Then everything just kind of....stopped.  We still did our budget every Sunday night, but slowly it became more of a guideline or a suggestion rather than the law.  My Target debit card was getting a lot more use since there was now one right down the street rather than a 35 minute drive.  Evan stopped taking the time to pack a lunch.  Landing smack dab in this new city had us wanting to do, to have, and to BUY.  And we did.  Without much thought, I'm ashamed to say.

As I write this post, we are awaiting a call from the woman who is preparing our taxes.  I will likely have a big ole' baby fit when I hear what she has to say because we know we will be owing several thousand dollars.  This is coming right on the heels of our finally getting honest with one another about how we have both been self-sabotaging our budget. 

It's no mystery why my headaches are back.

We've got to get our act together.  We need to make some painful cuts and I need to work more to increase our income.  Looking ahead, we can see so many things that we need to start saving for in the midst of getting back on track with paying off our debt.  One of our cars is at 211,000 miles and is going to need to be replaced soon.  The basement needs to be finished off so we can have a bedroom for guests to stay in, which becomes especially important when Evan is in China several times a year and I have someone come to help me with the kids while I'm at work. 

It's overwhelming.  And really, I'm embarrassed that we let it get to this point.  It's so easy to let old habits slip slowly back in and to lose control completely.

But we are going to beat this.  We have the basic knowledge and we also know that God is with us in this endeavor.  And if he is for us, there is no way this is going to stop us.

And if all else fails, I'll just rent the kids out to neighbors who need yard work done.  It's high time the 18 month old starts pulling his weight anyway.

Kidding.  (kind of)


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday - Honesty Edition

There are just some days when I don't feel like getting dressed.  Heck, there are some days when I would happily be banned from eating chocolate for an entire month if it meant I could stay in bed for the entire day without having to worry about anyone interrupting my day of sloth.  Yes, I am fully aware that what I just wrote sounds insane.

I could never go a whole month without chocolate.  Who am I kidding?

The reality is that there are little people relying on me for their survival and, much to my dismay, the 18 month old isn't even old enough yet to dress himself or make his own breakfast.  *sigh*

Therefore, I am forced to emerge from my cozy bed and thanks to WIWW I can even muster up the motivation to put on real pants on most days.  Other days....not so much.  In the name of being fully honest, I will tell you that I rarely take any outfit photos on the days when my hair is a disaster, I have no makeup on my face, and I am rocking my pajama pants and yucky t shirt.  Nobody needs to see that.

When I post these outfits here on Wednesdays, it is usually a conglomeration of things I have worn over the past several weeks.  Hear me, friends.  I do not dress like this every single day.  I certainly give it the ole' college try, but it never seems to actually work!

Clear on that?  Okidoke.  On with the clothes!

One chambray shirt from Target, two ways:

Chambray shirt - Target, Leopard belt - The Limited, Hudson Jeans - Macy's

I was trying to figure out how to get in on the chambray shirt trend without breaking the bank and also without feeling like I was wearing a denim shirt.  This little lovely was my answer.  I think it was $22 and it has a very feminine fit without feeling like it is unflattering.  It is soft and I just love it.   I tucked it into my favorite jeans and added a leopard print belt to wear to a women's conference at church last weekend.

I wore it with my skinny jeans, boots, and a scarf to run errands one morning.  The outfit above is what I was wearing when I encountered the incident with the other mama at the library. As you can see, I was hardly wearing something that (in my opinion) should have prompted the response I received, so it hurt that much more when it happened.  It was definitely a learning experience though!

My pink scarf got some use recently also:

 Teal top - LOFT, Hudson Jeans - Macy's, Scarf - no idea

This was another one of those outfits I wore to try to summon spring to show up.  It snowed again Monday morning.  I posted a photo of it on Instagram and pouted in my coffee cup.

Striped top  - Old Navy, Black tank - Maurices, same jeans, same scarf
Layers, layers, layers.  I was so comfy and warm in this because I had three layers on!

 Wonder Woman t shirt - Hot Topic, Boyfriend tank - Old Navy, Silver Jeans - Plato's Closet

Here's a big fat dose of reality for ya.  This outfit was what I changed into immediately after coming home from church on a recent Sunday.  I had a headache, I was tired, and I had nowhere else to go that day.  I put on my comfy jeans and a shirt to try to give me some pep in my step.  Shoes?  Nah.  

Yellow ruffle tank - Old Navy, Purple Cardigan - LOFT, Teal necklace - The Limited, Straight jeans - LOFT, Leopard flats - Target

Now this colorful conglomeration was something I wore out and about for the morning before I realized I was cold and perhaps a bit too colorful.  I changed into something else later, but not before I had taken a photo to share with you.  What are your thoughts?  Did it actually work or was I correct in thinking it was a bit much?

Linking up once again over at The Pleated Poppy for some amazing fashion inspiration!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Project Life - Including Videos!

This is not a brand new topic by any means, but I wanted to share with you all a little trick that I picked up to include little video clips here and there in my Project Life albums.  I first saw this idea pop up on YouTube when someone wanted to show little video memories from her trip to Disney World and I all but freaked out when I saw it.  It was so simple and so genius.  I immediately had to follow suit!

I'm going to kind of work backwards here so you can see what the result we're going for looks like before I jump into showing you step by step how I create this with PSE.  The short video below shows how the finished product looks in Thomas' baby book and how to actually execute this effect.

As you can see, it works pretty slick when it is done!  If I'm flipping through my album and I want to watch the video, it literally takes a matter of seconds (with a good WiFi connection, that is) to be watching the clip.

The Process

Here's how to do it!  There is a video at the bottom of these steps that will show everything in real time, but I've written everything out in case you are unable to view the video.

Step 1 - Upload your video and Copy the URL
Obviously, the first thing you should do is create your video and upload it.  I use YouTube, but Vimeo or any other video hosting website should work just fine. Once your video is live, copy the URL code.

Step 2 - Create and Save the QR Code
Once the URL of your video is copied to your clipboard, open up this website :  Free QR Code Generator.  Paste the URL of your video into the box and click GENERATE.  (You may need to sign up for a free account first)  Once the QR code shows up, there is a button you can click to save it as either a .pdf or a .png file.  I prefer .png because it makes it very easy to work with in PSE.  Save it to your computer and then launch Photoshop Elements!

Step 3 - Assemble the Project Life Card
With PSE open, go ahead and open up whatever journal card or photo you want to put the QR code on.  Also, open up the QR code file while you're at it.  Copy the code image into a new layer on top of your journal card (see video for how to do this) and then you can resize it and move it around however you want.  I like to add a little description of the video and maybe even use an arrow brush to draw more attention to it.

Step 4 - Print, Download, and View
Print your journal card as you normally would and slip it into your Project Life album.  Next, download the app "ScanLife" for your smartphone.  Open the app and scan the code and you are off to the races!

Here's the video that shows how I create one of these cards from start to finish:

A simple little trick that adds a neat touch to your Project Life album.  Give it a shot!

The Mom Creative

Linking up this bonus post with The Mom Creative today!

Project Life Tuesday - Thomas' Baby Book (Part 3)

The Mom CreativeWelcome to Project Life Tuesday!

Are you ready for another installment of Baby Book cuteness??

Yes, he is a year a half old.  Yes, it has taken me this long to make him a baby book.

But, that's why I'm glad Project Life has come to the rescue!  I went a totally different route for this project and I bought the DIGITAL version of the Baby Edition for Him when it was on sale for 25% off when it was first released.  Because I went this route, I have been able to tinker around with it here and there as I have found time.  It's been nice to be able to work on my album without having to bust out my huge storage tote full of Project Life supplies and clutter up the kitchen table with my gear.  All I need is my computer and a planning sheet!

If you're looking for inspiration on what others are doing with their Project Life, you can check out my board on Pinterest and be sure to link up on The Mom Creative!

Did you catch PART ONE and PART TWO of Thomas' baby book?  If not, you can check it out here to see what you missed!

We are picking up in the middle of Thomas' second month, which was October of 2011.  

For the 3x4 card below, I just put an Instagram shot on top of a journal card and added a little caption at the bottom.

 I love mixing the color photos with some black & whites.

The photo below makes the Star Wars nerd in me very, very happy.

"These aren't the droids you're looking for."

Fast forward about 16 months, and he would be doing this:

May the force be with you.

Next Page:

Have I mentioned lately how much I love the pops of teal in this kit?  I'm big on teal lately.

The English dork in me enjoys that last filler card very much.

Next Page:

It's always fun to see how colorful the layouts end up being after the photos are put in the pockets.  The kit creates a foundation to work from, but they are still neutral enough to go with anything you combine with the cards.

At the end of every month's section, I include the "Highlights and Milestones" card as well as a photo of Thomas next to his teddy bear so I can track his growth.

Raise your hand if you get the movie reference on Thomas' shirt in the photo above!

Aren't baby yawns the cutest??

Next page:

Into his fourth month now.  I love that I can include so many photographs using this system!  I never would have been able to have this many pictures if I had stuck to traditional scrapbooking for Thomas' baby book.  This is going to be a THICK album, folks.

Love those two photos so much.

There is no rule that says the journaling cards can only be for writing.  I put the photo of the boys playing with their race track right on the card and it worked out well!

That's a wrap for this installment!  We've made it through Thomas' fourth month so there is still a lot of book left for me to share with you.  I hope you'll join me again next week!

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