15 September 2017


The temps are dropping, the leaves are changing, and pumpkin spice becomes life...  Canned pumpkin starts flying off the shelves, lines are forming at Starbucks for their infamous Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and yoga pants are being donned by women everywhere.
FULL DISCLOSURE - I've never been a big fan of pumpkin, and I've never even had a PSL from Starbucks... *gasp!*  BUT, over the last several years, my love for pumpkin has grown... so you can all relax (still never had a Starbucks PSL, though).

I have a real problem spending my Smart Points on drinks, but I will definitely make exceptions...  My fave exception is a Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte made with almond milk (iced or hot depending on the weather) - it's 4 SP, people!  Totally worth it in my little world!

Ok, back to why you're here.  I have an amazing, 'pumpkin+coffee=holy crap!' recipe for you to try this fall...  and it just happens to be [wait for it] a crock pot PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE!  Totally SP friendly, so no one will be the wiser!

Crock Pot Pumpkin Spice Latte
3 C. fat free half and half
2 C. vanilla unsweetened almond milk
6 C. strongly brewed coffee
3/4 C. canned pumpkin
1/8 C. vanilla extract
1/4 C. brown sugar Splenda blend
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 cinnamon sticks

Mix half and half, almond milk, and coffee in crock pot.  In a bowl, mix together pumpkin, vanilla, sugar, and ground spices.  Mix in crock pot and stir.  Add cinnamon sticks.  Cover the crock pot and cook on high for 2 hours.

I figured (using the WW app) the recipe at 3 SP for approximately one cup.  You can add some cinnamon on top or even fat free cool whip topping.  Such a wonderful fall drink... it's like a hug in a cup!  Not only that, but so easy.  Wouldn't this be perfect for Thanksgiving!?  Just throw it together and forget it while you make all the other goodies...  #holidaywinning

So, there you go.  I hope you try it, I hope you love it, and I hope you are wearing yoga pants and boots so you can get the FULL fall experience!

Happy fall, peeps... and stay tuned for more point friendly pumpkin yums.  #pumpkineverything


it's the journey... inspire.believe.create.  A blog about life, love, creativity, home, food, wine, step-parenting, weight loss, Jeeps, fitness, running, traveling, entertaining, fashion, being gluten-free, and...  cats.  Join me in embracing the chaos.

27 August 2017

Belated Tutorial {Spherize}

So here it is...  August.  I said I was going to blog more this year, and all of a sudden, the year is almost up!  How is that possible!?

I wrote a Tutorial Tuesday for The Digital Press Blog (in May...) and wanted to share it here...  and I hope you enjoy it!  

I created a layout using the Spherize Technique many years ago... and I gave it another go.  This one turned out just as fun!


Happy Scrappin'!

11 February 2017

My {VISION}board

Here I am, just a girl, always trying to be a better version of myself.  I started my weight loss journey last February... little did I know that I would find these amazing friends (I really can't imagine my life without them, now!), become a runner, and look forward to trying healthy new foods and activities, like rock-climbing and yoga?!  What?!

It's a process.  It doesn't happen overnight.  I'm constantly working on understanding my relationship with food, fighting wants over needs, and yes, sometimes I don't want to work out or run... gasp!  I am human.  But, as far as I can tell, my little choices every day have served me well, and I will keep at it. 

So, as a tool to help motivation and inspiration, I was challenged to create a visionboard.  Shocker, I jumped on the chance... cuz, I'm kinda creative, ya know.  Here's what I came up with and I can't wait to share with my group! 

Everything I used is from The Lilypad...

Thanks for stopping by!  Please message me if you want any more information on my success at Weight Watchers.  I believe in this program!  

06 December 2016

Christmas Planner 2016 {revamp}

Well, Christmas is here again!  My goal for 2017 is to create more tutorials, projects, and crafts that I can share on my blog for any crafty & creative peeps out there...  but, instead of waiting until January, there is no time like the present!

I'm sharing this awesome Christmas Planner again, because, well, I love to make lists, and I can make tons of lists in this bad boy.  Maybe it's too late for you to use for this Christmas, but then again, if you procrastinate like me, it'll be just in time for you to organize your thoughts, gifts, and gatherings!

I revamped the printable...  because well, it needed a font update!  If you are reading this, I'm guessing you can understand the font obsession!

I hope you enjoy and share with me if you make one!  Feel free to grab the printable if you like...  Merry Christmas!

Here’s what you’ll need:
  • composition notebook
  • 2016 Christmas Planner Printables
  • length of ribbon (about 36 inches)
  • 3 sheets of patterned paper
  • punch or circle cutter
  • adhesive (my preference is Glue Dots)
  • ink pad (optional)
  • paper cutter
  • 2 envelopes

You'll start by adhering your ribbon around the notebook...
Trace around the cover of the notebook (or measure, but beware that not all composition notebooks are the same size) on the back of printed paper and cut out using scissors or a paper cutter.  Then cut a 2 inch strip of another pattern.  If you wish, you can ink the edges of the cut out paper to give your planner a grungy look…  but that is totally optional!

You will also want to cut out a large circle of patterned paper (I used Creative Memories Circle Cutter and cut a 5 inch circle)…  along with the 2013 Christmas Planner and Christmas Tree circles on the printable sheet.  Next we get to start using those Glue Dots...
 Here’s where it gets fun!  The awesome thing about making something like this, is you can personalize it.  My tabs (found on the printable sheet) are going to be calendar, gifts, cards, addresses, and menu…  but, you can choose whatever you want for your tabs.  In your gifts section, you can have an envelope* for your coupons and receipts… and you can print out calendars (monthly or weekly) and paste them into your calendar tab (I used CalendarLabs).  You can choose how big each of your sections are and you can even make spots for Christmas memory photos and you have a 2016 Holiday Scrapbook!
*I just used a couple card envelopes I had laying around…  but, you could use something more sturdy like a 6″x9″ manilla envelope.
 ….and here’s my work in progress!…
 Update:  As you can see I made this original one in 2013.  I have since used it for each year, and it's been a life saver.  Especially knowing who I send Christmas cards to, my favorite recipes, and even what we got the kids each year.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I have!

There are tons of Christmas kits out there that you can use for your patterned paper and even elements, journal cards, stamps, etc...  My favorite stores are The Digichick and The Digital Press.  They have WONDERFUL Christmas sections, so go check it out!  

The Digital Press is also running a fun blog series for the holidays.  If you are creative & crafty, it is not to be missed!

From me to you, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas holiday! 

Many blessings,

09 January 2016

Let's Get Sketchy {Challenge}

I thought I'd participate in a fun sketch challenge over at Let's Get Sketchy!  It's been awhile since I used a sketch... and for the life of me I don't know why!  I LOVE sketches!

Okay, okay...  I'll show you already! 

Here's the sketch...
...and here's my take...
Aren't you just in love with those amazing colors?!  I created this layout featuring my sweet little girl (not so little anymore, I guess...) with Peppy by France M. Designs, Meg Designs, and Anita Designs.  It's beautiful, fun, sassy, sweet, and totally fun!

By the by...  it's on sale right now over at The Digital Press! ;)

Thanks for stopping by and peeking at my layout!

Have a wonderful weekend!

23 August 2015

Drop Anchor {Freebie}

Hey there!  Wow, what a busy summer!  I can't believe it's almost September... the kiddos are back in school... and here I am looking forward to sweaters, hoodies, changing leaves, and boots!  

BUT, before we get too far into fall...  here's a kit perfect for your summer water adventures! 

France M. Designs is the featured designer over at MScraps!  She has created an adorable mini kit that is yours for free...  and you DO NOT want to miss it. 

Wanna see it?

...AND...  if you sign up for her newsletter, you'll get some extras to go along with this lovely mini! {solids and dots}

...AND...  if you follow her Facebook fan page, you get MORE! {glitters and vellums.- who doesn't love GLITTER?!}

Now here's what I created with this sweet thing...

I really love reminiscing over our trip to San Francisco last September.  It was truly my favorite trip with my love {so far}, so when I see a kit that is just perfect for these beloved pics, I'm ecstatic that I get to scrap them!  I'm sure I'm not the only scrapper who feels that way about some of their photos!

Don't forget to get over there and sign up so you can grab this mini!

Hope you all had a wonderful summer {if you are in my side of the world} and are looking forward to fall!  

Many blessings,

12 July 2015

Do you {RE-DO}?

Not that long ago, someone asked over in The Digichick Forums, do you re-do your layouts from way back when you first started?  

My immediate response?  Heck yes!

I actually have a folder on my computer full of layouts that I'm hoping to makeover.  There's a ton of reasons I want to do this... the main reason is that I've really developed my style and learned so much, I know I can do better.  It doesn't have anything to do with not liking the kit I used originally, for me, it's just because I didn't do my photo(s) justice!

The other side?  A LOT of responses were... absolutely not!  Some would never go back and makeover any of the layouts they've previously created. 

In my honest opinion... there is NOT a right answer here!  It's personal preference.

So, back to my Heck Yes response...  I chose to makeover a Disney layout I created many years ago.  Again, it's not that I don't like the kit (I mean, it's a Disney kit for Heaven's sake!), but I know I could make it cleaner and make my photos (which are by no means perfect) the star of the page!  

It was fun... and I see lots of 'RE-DO's' in my future!

Sooooo.... here's the original..... (This was before I knew the importance of credits, so I unfortunately can't tell you the designer of the kit.)
Here's my makeover... much cleaner.  I feel like the photos are the focus of the page and the elements don't distract from that.  This page is created with Project Mouse (Basics No. 2) by Sahlin Studio and Brittish Design.
I don't think there is anything wrong with going back and making over an old layout.  I had a good time doing this... and by using these pictures from our first trip to Disney, I got to reminisce over how much fun we had!  That was the best part!

Oh, and I'm currently working on making some new Journal Cards for my Weight Watchers Smash Book!  I'll post them when I get them done...  curious?

Thanks for stopping by!  

09 July 2015

So.Many.Projects. {So Little Time!}

You guys.

Yes, it's been awhile... but, I realize now that I totally underestimated the time and effort it takes to get a house in shape to put on the market!  Do you ever have so many projects going that you just can't see straight?  Yep...  that's me!  No, not only scrapping projects (which I have a ton of those started, but not finished), but PINTEREST projects have taken over my life!  Some have been successes, others pretty massive fails, and some that leave me shaking my head and saying "What the...?!?!"

Ok, anyhow...  In the midst of the madness of my life right now, I'm still scrapping!  No rhyme or reason to my scrapping, it just basically gets me through the week.  I've often thought I should create pages chronologically... or with some sort of reason, right?  BUT, as organized as I pretend to be, that just doesn't work for me.  I have a P52 going for this year, which I thought would help me stay focused, but not so much.  (I may be way behind, but I'm not giving up!)

So what about you?  Do you scrap chronologically?  by kid?  by event?  by vacation?  Do you only scrap with a certain style, like Project Life?  I don't feel the least bit guilty for having books with random times and events, or even styles!  All I know is that my family loves reminiscing over my pages, and that, my friends, is the point of doing what we do!

Enough talking, right?  Here are some layouts and the fabulous kits I used to create them!

I used Absolutely Amazing by Kimeric Kreations for this Disney 2 page layout...  

This next one is the first page of a soon to be 2 page layout featuring our daytrip to St. Louis just recently.  I used The Morning Sun Kit by JB Studio

I had so much fun with this one!  Look at Gabe!  He's getting so teenager-y...  sigh...  Created with Hipster by Meagan's Creations

...and my most recent layout...  created with The Mother Road by Meagan's Creations.

That's just a few of the many layouts lately... but just wanted to share!  Don't forget about the challenges over at The Digichick!

Many blessings, friends!

07 February 2015

Project{52} & Basic Clipping Mask Tutorial

Well, I finally started... good grief it took me forever and now I'm already behind!  Only about 5 weeks into the year... figures...

BUT...  I'm really happy with my first 2 weeks.  I get really caught up in making my layouts look perfect, but why?  I'm doing this so we can remember what we did this year.  I'm not doing this to impress everyone...  so as long as I love them, what's it matter?  Right?  Anyone else deal with this?  :)

Here's my first two weeks...  and I have to say it would have taken me WAY longer to get them done if it weren't for the Photo Focus Pockets Templates by LJS Digital Designs.  They are just awesome and there are tons to choose from.  They are easy to use and they even have the shadows done for you!

Let me show you...



Aren't they awesome?  So easy and tons of choices.  Can't beat it!

For those of you who are just starting out with Project Life or Photoshop in general, I want to share with you a very simple little thing that has saved me tons of time since I learned about it...  Incidentally, it took me awhile to try it...  why do we do that?  It's not complicated and seriously... it's a life saver!  

It's a little thing called CREATING A CLIPPING MASK...  Basically, it's a fancy way to say you are 'clipping' your paper to a shape or text...  The paper version example:  Say you have a chipboard heart.  You cut out a piece of patterned paper/cardstock or photo to glue onto the heart.  Easy right?  Well, the digi version is MUCH easier!  Here we go...  (my screenshots are made in Adobe Photoshop CC, but they can be adapted easily to Photoshop Elements)

Step 1:  Open a template, shape, or text.  (I've used one of the templates shown above) 
Step 2:  Drag your paper to the layer above whatever you want to 'cover'.
Step 3:  Select the paper or photo and right click.  Select Create Clipping Mask from the drop down menu. You can also hold down ALT and place your mouse arrow on the line separating your layers in your layer palette.  You will then see a little down arrow and white box, simply click your LEFT mouse and it's clipped!
This is what it will look like...  Now at this point, you can move or re-size your paper or photo to make it look exactly as you want it.
Step 4:  Click on both layers, RT click, and choose Merge Layers.  Now you can add a shadow or whatever else you want to do!
Here's a couple tips... make sure your layer that you are clipping to doesn't have a shadow on it when you clip it...  and you just have to play around with it.  It took me a little bit to get the hang of it, but I use it on almost every single thing I create now!

Please let me know if this spurs any questions...  if I don't know the answer, I certainly know some amazing Photoshop gals who can help me answer you!

Happy scrapping!

15 January 2015

{Blending} Basics

Tomorrow is Friday... and I don't know about you... but, boy, am I glad!  It's not that it's been a bad week, but there's just something about a Friday before a weekend that I know I'll be getting some scrapping therapy...  makes it that much better, right?!

Well...  I want to share with you a layout I created this week.  I had a lot of fun creating it for a couple of reasons.  

First of all, I had a beautiful kit to work with (which happens to be on sale right now!)To The Moon! by Kimeric Kreations is full of rich colors and textures, along with an amazing group of graffiti (I really LOVE graffiti!).  Let's just say... it's outta this world!  (I'm chuckling right now, just so you know...)

Second, I got to 'play' with one of my favorite photos of the kids.  It's an older photo (from 2009), but it's always been one of my faves.  I've paper scrapped it, but never digitally created with it.  I have to give credit where credit is due... my dear friend Marni (Sonshine Photography) took this photo.

I wish I could tell you exactly step by step how to create the affect on the big photo... but, alas, I can't.  I just played with it until I liked the way it looked.  That's the beauty of art, right?  You wouldn't want to make something exactly like mine, anyhow. 

Which brings me to.... BLENDING.  It's fun, creative, easy, and totally unique.  If you are a beginner, this is something you may want to play around with.  There isn't a right or wrong!  I promise!

First of all...  you'll find the Blending drop down here...  (this is Adobe PS, but you'll find it in the same place in PSE)

Whatever layer you have selected is the layer in which the blending will happen, with whatever is behind it.  So, I layered my photo on top of one of Kim's background papers.

After doing this, I just kept layering the photo, adjusting to different blending styles, and I even adjusted the opacity of my photo layer as I went.  I hit the UNDO button A LOT (all hail the undo button), but I eventually ended up with something I really loved.  

A tip about duplicating layers...  you can duplicate a layer by clicking on it in your layers palette, right clicking, and choosing 'duplicate layer'.  You can even duplicate a layer to a new 'untitled' project or something else you have opened by doing it this way.  Just click on the drop down arrow under Destination in the action window.

The other way is the way I prefer (unless I'm duplicating it to another project)...  Click on whatever layer you would like to duplicate in your layers palette...  and then drag it to 'Create New Layer' (see photo)

Again, this is PS...  the 'Create New Layer' icon is at the top of the layers palette in PSE.  It will show up in your layers palette like this:  Layer 3 Copy (or whatever your original layer is named - Copy).  That way you can distinguish which one is which.

I really encourage you to play around with blending.  I chose to start with a basic (slightly patterned) background, then eventually added a little color behind the photos as well with a textured background.  I also used the graffiti behind the blended photo... which made it softer and a little less pronounced.  There are so many fun things you can do...  like make your own unique background by layering 2 backgrounds and adjusting the blending of the top one.  You can use blending on Type to make it look more realistic (I prefer Overlay and Soft Light when working with Type).  

Remember, there is no wrong way to make art!  It's unique...  it's beautiful...  it's YOURS!  Have FUN!

Please let me know if you have any questions.  I taught myself about 98% of what I know about PS and PSE.  Tutorials help tremendously... so does fearlessly trying things!  I'm not an expert, but I will try and help!

I hope you all have a wonderful Friday!  Happy Creating!

Many Blessings,