30 April 2011

Hannah is FOURTEEN!!!!

Fourteen years ago, we were blessed with a very LARGE 9 lbs 15 oz baby named Hannah. A baby that liked to puke all over the place. A baby that was a good sleeper as long as she was in the swing. A baby that created (and still does) lots of drama. Our dear little Hannah!!!! We love her so. Happy Birthday sweetie

29 April 2011

Dreaming of Alaska

This was a fun challenge with neat colors. The colors took me back to Skagway, Alaska while I was onboard the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway. It made me think of how much I wanted some paints and a brush while I was looking out the windows. All I did was DREAM the whole trip!

Get the stuff:
Red paper--open stock Hobby Lobby
Aqua paper--Magnolia by My Mind's Eye
White paper--open stock Hobby Lobby
Dream font-ME
flower centers- Distress Stickles Broken china
Swirl--grunge board swirl by Tim Holtz (my hero)
Floss by DMC
Red pattern paper---Magnolia by My Mind's Eye
Aqua polka dotted paper---Magnolia by My Mind's Eye
pen by Sharpie
Subject of photos by God

CK Friday April 29, 2011 one hour challenge

The challenge was to do something old, cliche' type or a technique from the past. This was hard because I had ONE hour. I had no time to paint so I tried to sew on the page. I ran out of time. I did hand cut a scroll, add some rub ons (old) and used a Zeppelin song for my old saying. I had just enough time to sew on an arrow. WHEW that was fast.

Get the look:
file folder label-colorbok
circle paper-Miss Elizabeth's
12x12 purple paper-open stock HObby Lobby
Green stitched border-Die Cuts with a View
Tag/ticket Rub ons-Making Memories
Adored label-Westrim Crafts
Letter stickers-Westrim Crafts
Clock stamp-wooden stamp with NO label :(
Embossing powder-Stampendous
Eggplant ink-Stampin UP!!!
Bird rub on-Hambly Studios

The wedding..my take

Catherine stepped into the Bently and simply beamed. She seemed to enjoy all the crowds...holding her bouquet with one hand and waving with the other. She didn't appear to be nervous instead she seemed like normal bride giddy to start her life with her new man. She alighted at Westminster Abbey and turned to view the crowds. She was beaming with excitement but was poised as she entered the nave. The paused as spoke with clergymen and others on the carpet laid for her. Then she began her 4-minute walk down the aisle. The whole gushing with happiness. William told her she was beautiful and told her father that he thought they were going to have a small wedding. Then the service began...it was a service conducted by the church of England preachers and the Archbishop of Canterbury. A beautiful service that spoke of Cate and William's devotion to God. And that they will procreate (bets are probably being placed as to when). They then entered the chapel of Henry VII (my third fave King of England) and signed their documents. Then they left the abbey in the same carriage Diana and Charles and Andrew and Fergie used in their weddings. Both Cate and William looked happy with their lot.

We saw them alight at Buckingham and not again until they entered the balcony. They were happy with the crowd and Cate said "wow" while glimpsing the crowds. They kissed for like 2 seconds...did and then they kissed a second time. The second was better. The family left to go do their duties. Cate seemed reluctant to leave the crowds...they love her so. A wonderful wedding...glad I got up.
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28 April 2011

John Muir

Who exactly is John Muir? And why does he interest me so? He was a Scottish man that fell in love with the beauty of America. He was instrumental in getting the president and Congress to create the National Park system…hence his nickname “Father of the National Parks”.
He was also very interested in botany, which I admit is the part about him I care nothing about. He could glance at any plant and tell you exactly what it was…a neat talent, but that is not what thrills me.
His journey (after an injury he was convinced God had given him) began in Yosemite Valley and here is where he changed how America viewed its lands. He referred to Yosemite as a “temple” and even wrote a book while there….he was here many years.
That part was interesting because Yosemite is on my list of things to do, but I read his book about the visit to Wrangel Island, his climb up Mt Rainier and his great visits to Glacier Bay. George Vancouver discovered the bay, but it was closed with gigantic glacier…by the time Muir sailed to the bay in a canoe, the glacier had retreated creating Tarr Inlet. A place I have been blessed to see and without a doubt the most beautiful place that I have ever been blessed enough to see.
I first read Muir’s book “Travels in Alaska” as I was approaching my first visit to the bay and then began it again right after I left. At first read, I could not envision the ice, the fjord, the blues, the moraine….they were just words. After visiting it all made sense, and it hit me hard. I sat in a chair for almost 12 hours admiring with shock the beauty, the moaning and the loveliness of the fjord. I have read the book about 6 times since 2008. There is another book that describes the trips Muir made to Glacier Bay, “Alaska Days with John Muir”. It is written by Samuel H Young, who happened to be a minister that traveled to Wrangel Island to minister to the natives and traveled to the glaciers with Muir. This book is just as good as Muir’s book and is enjoyable reading.
Both books are available all over the place as both are out of copyright. Here is a link to Travels in Alaska… www.sierraclub.org/john_muir_exhibit/writings/travels_in_alaska/ It has the photos from the book, the very book I bought at Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center...a glacier that is briefly mentioned in the book.

Oh, one thing I forgot, in case you collect the statehood quarters, John Muir is the man depicted on the California state quarter...so even if you never heard of him, I am sure you have held his name in your hands.

27 April 2011

Branson MO April 2011

Our first trip to Branson in 11 years!!! The city has changed in so many ways. 76 is still there, but they have added additional roads to help with the traffic problems. There are at least 2 Wal-mart stores, one Target (no fair) and a massive scrapbook store. All in a town with 6,000 residents! We arrived in the off-peak season, which really is a perfect time to visit. Everyone is super nice, there are NO crowds, and it is not too hot.
Everything started with us checking into our timeshare, Gold Crowne Resorts. You can’t check in at the property, you have to check in about 5 minutes away and then drive to the resort. That was a bit strange, but it worked. We walked into the timeshare (we had 2 days left of the week the family owns, and we had to pay for the 3rd night) and were greeted with a much smaller version than what we had when we purchased the getaway timeshare room in October. You walk in and there is the living room and kitchen together. The laundry is in a closet right behind the table, and the vacuum is stored in a closet adjacent to the laundry closet. Then you have a bathroom with a walk-in shower (no tub L ). It is a fairly large bathroom, and we set this up to be the bathroom for the kids. You then walked down the tiniest of hallways and there was the master bedroom with a very tiny tiny tiny toilet room, a sink in the bedroom and a bathtub in the bedroom. I had to pay more to get a jet tub, the timeshare that the family owns does not come with the jet tub. We also had a balcony overlooking some of the strip in our bedroom. The tub was not clean enough for me, so that had to be taken care of, but overall the room was clean. I would not want to spend a week in this room as the kitchen is almost nonexistent; there was not even a silverware drawer. Maybe I was spoiled with the getaway room in Oct (but that did cost me quite a bit of money).
The bed slept fine, outlets were in abundance (this is usually a complaint and the reason I travel with an extension cord), and the lighting was pleasing. Overall, I would give the room 4 out of 5.
The first night we decided to hit the strip and see what we could get into. We found a pizza hut and ate there and went shopping at Target to get some essentials (including PUFFS). We hit the sack early because we all were a bit tired from the drive. When we wake, we are heading to Silver Dollar City.
I had pre-purchased tickets so this was NO big deal at all. We entered the park and started on the way. I really wanted the potato and onions meal, but once again this was not to be (funny I have thought about it for 11 years), but we did see the glass blower and rode quite a few things. The rides are MUCH better than the rides at Holiday World. Hands down!!! The drinks are a tad overpriced, but then all parks can’t have free soft drinks like Holiday World. The park is very clean. I never saw litter on the ground and I was looking. There were no long lines for any of the rides and most rides had NO lines. The staff was very friendly and easy to have a conversation with, but then I also noticed that most of the staff were older people, I would say past retirement age. All the staff was clean shaven and dress nicely. A very family friendly environment.
We stayed until they closed and then headed to eat at Fall Creek Steak. The restaurant was very appealing to the eye, tons of memorabilia and old signs. Our server, James was very attentive and apologetic when my order was messed up. I had the catfish and would recommend it. It was a large piece of fish with a cornmeal type breading. No strings in the fish just a large piece of white catfish. It was a bit expensive but we were finding out, nothing was cheap on the food budget. We would generally spend approx $50 on each meal.
This was the one thing I was looking most forward to. We arrived 1 day before the 99th anniversary commemorating the maiden voyage. You may not bring any cameras and your phones must be off. There is a staff member in each area so there is NO way you could have a phone out for a photo. The story is that you are buying a ticket on the Titanic and will be given a boarding pass with you passenger name on it. It will also feature a brief history of your character. You will immediately board the ship. You get to see every class and what things would look like. Starting in 3rd class you will see even a ticket from the actual sailing and many other one of a kind memorabilia. There are many sad points on the tour; the first is here in 3rd class. A man died in the water and they found him, they took off his wedding ring and his family preserved it for many years and this ring is on display for you to view. It was sad to think they took this off his body after he died in the frozen Atlantic. I will tell you another sad tale later.
You will see a 3rd class cabin and then you turn the corner and there it is the Grand Staircase. It looks exactly like it did on the Titanic, which means it looks just like it did in the movie, which means you can visualize Jack walking down to greet Rose before dinner. This was the part where I wish that I could have had my camera. The architecture is extraordinary. I have been on many ships in my days, but the craftsmanship is just not quite like this. A ship in these days is flashy and neon. Princess is classier, but it pales in comparison with this staircase.
Walk up the staircase and you will see a replica of Mr. John Jacob Astor’s room. He was the richest man in America at the time of his death and this room is evidence of some of that wealth. You will also see artifacts that can’t have a value they are so precious!!! A deck chair, letters from passengers, mirrors, jewelry, books, and good luck charms….all that belonged to passengers. This is indeed a once in a lifetime chance…think about it, this stuff will be 100 years old next April!!!!
The next room is the bridge (wheelhouse); you can turn the wheel and pretend you are EG Smith navigating this mammoth on its first and last sailing. Then hang a left and walk out onto an actual deck. The stars are in the sky, and it is dark, but you can barely make out an iceberg on the horizon. Now, it is time for impact! You will see 3 decks that are angled just like they would have been that night as the ship was sinking. It is very hard to stand on the deck angled at 45 degrees, give it a try. Next, to the deck are photos of the passengers. I had seen some of them in studying the ship, but this was an extensive collection of photos. Some were labeled the only photo in existence of such and such. I found my passenger and she was a pretty lady, I did not yet know her fate.
The next room is the room where Dr. Bob Ballard found the remains. I remember this day vividly in my own mind. I had always wondered about the wreckage since I had first heard of the ship and when Dr. Ballard discovered it I was so happy. It was nice to see all the maps and photos of the discovery.
Here is where you experience more sadness….I mean you are sucked into the experience of the thrill of all the artifacts that you forget the death until you enter the recovery room. There you see photos of bodies being removed, bodies in coffins, and the sailors labeling bodies with a number because they have no names and stripping their bodies of jewelry and placing it in bags that correspond with the body number. It was very strange to see the dead bodies of the people, they were bloated and misshapen. You also see letters by the White Star Line wanting money to send the body home; otherwise, they would bury them at sea. The one guy they show was poor his family wanted his body, but could not afford to have it sent home so he was buried at sea.
Next, you learn the fate of your passenger. I am happy to say that all of our family survived. Trevor was a fireman and he swam to a free boat. I am sure Hannah, John and I were all in lifeboats as we were all women. Trevor also had a first-class dog, and his dog perished….little Frou Frou, you know all the dogs were supposed to stay in 3rd class decks but Frou Frou was so cute, she was allowed to stay with her master in the master’s first class suite. There were only 10 dogs on board, but sadly they all perished.
We bought some souvenirs and then headed to Golden Corral for a big meal. Then a game of mini golf…where I lost.
Branson, we had a great time, thinking about season passes next year. Even without Grandpa’s room, we could stay a couple of days in a motel/cabin/whatever and go to Silver Dollar City. It was a lot of fun!!!

26 April 2011

chocolate part 2

So I was talking to you about chocolate then today at lunch a co-worker was telling me about chocolate that her mother bought for her. She built up the story talking about this great event her mother went to in New Mexico where she lives. It was a coffee and chocolate fair, and there were many different types of yummy things to eat. Oh yeah, her mother sent her some too. One was lime pistachio covered in white chocolate. The other was milk chocolate looking square and she said you HAVE to try this. She said that I could have all of the chocolate if I wanted it. Well, I bit into it...not bad...then I swallowed it! OH MY GOODNESS, it was like eating FIRE. It was chili powder...REALLY? Really April Rambo? You would taint my chocolate with fire. Not cool!

She proceeded to share this yummy stuff with anyone that would listen/be gullible.


25 April 2011

Must have chocolate

Yes, who can really survive without chocolate? I am thinking of this grand chocolate that I had onboard the Norwegian Pearl. This was a chocolate truffle. A powder sugar coated exterior and under that a bitter layer of dark chocolate power and inside--------decadence!!!!!!!! Without a doubt the greatest chocolate I have ever eaten. I ate about 20 on that day as you know cruise ships rarely serve the same food twice so I ate literally as many as I could. I thought I was going to puke, but I didn't...I kept them all down. whew...

There is a close second and unfortunately, the person can't make them again. A girl I work with, Jennifer Payne, made a chocolate truffle. It too had a bitter outside and a scrumptious interior. She gave me about 3 that day and I savored each little bite, but alas she has said that she doesn't have the recipe anymore.

Someone out there in chocolate land helps me...bring me back a Norwegian Pearl truffle or send me a very good truffle recipe so that I may make my own. Thank you and good night.

24 April 2011

In the Ring

I don't know the terms, don't pretend to understand what is happening...I just know that on Monday and Friday nights my house becomes a Wrestlemania ring. I have a son that not only watches the matches but creates his own during the show. They don't miss an episode. I am telling you it has gotten so bad that even I can recognize a couple of the wrestlers. Not only that I can quote the tag line of a couple of the wrestlers. This is not good!!! I still hate to watch it, but it is slowly imprinting on my brain. Quite like Harry Potter craving "I will not tell lies" into his hand.

This week my son spent his hard earned cash on wrestling figures. And they were used ones...what is this coming too? He sports shirts. plays with the action figures and the last thing is that poor little spidey. Spidey is about 12 years old (having been Tyler's before he came to Trevor) and he WAS in good shape when he came to live with us in 2007. For a while spidey sat on the bed, unattended, then one day....off the bed he flew...He was being body slammed into the floor by a small boy. The boy was shouting "I pinned you". Life for spidey changed a lot. He was soon to be the victim of all the neighborhood boys. They took turns wrestling poor little Spiderman. One day, Spidey had to go to the hospital to have his sides sewn up. Since then he has had a foot worked on and a neck. He is doing well as of today. Actually, for a couple of days, he has been left alone. A John Cena action figure has entered the house and new matches are going down.

I never dreamed my son would be a wrestler, not only that he does bodily harm to defenseless spidermen. One day spidey will get fed up and choke slam (is that a term?) Trevor onto the floor...until then have needle will travel.

23 April 2011

Royal Pains

I am not even going to try to pretend that I don't care about the royal wedding. I, who can name all the kings and queens of England (in order) since the time of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.....LOVES everything about British Royals. I watched dear old Fergie's day of nuptial bliss and before that, I watched Chuck and Di's big day....and being a Diana freak it would be natural that I would enjoy a good day with her eldest son (and son who looks most like she).
5 am may seem kind of early to wake up to watch a wedding, but I got up at 3 am to watch Diana's funeral. Yes and to top that I had just had a baby April 30 so I had a 4-month-old baby that stayed up screaming most of the night and she and I watched the funeral "together".

I have already discovered that BBC America will be airing the entire thing and I intend to tivo it. Actually, my intention is to tivo it so that I can see my arrival in Westminster Abbey, cause you know that my invitation is coming right?

Good luck to you Kate Middleton, your life will change in just a few short days, you are going to be a princess and second in line to be the Queen of England. How Jolly. I shall have a wonderful time...cause I KNOW my invitation is coming.

17 April 2011

still thinking about Titanic

All these days later (since the sinking) and I still can't stop thinking about it. I am really really really wanting to sail the 100th commemorative next year! I mean REALLY want to. Well, the ship has inspired some of my designs today. My color choices are from the CR84FN challenge and while most people that post in the challenge do cards, I am doing a one-page layout. The colors are perfect for a Titanic-era inspired piece. I have NO photos from the Titanic museum so I had to be creative in preserving this memory. Here is my attempt! Get the products:

Aqua card stock, cream card stock and light blue card stock-open stock Hobby Lobby
pattern paper by K&Co
light blue squares by creative memories
"memories" transparency by K&Co
Stamps-Vintage Ladies by Hot off the press Time Flies and Scroll with it by Technique Tuesday
stamp ink-Caribbean Sea by Technique Tuesday, black ink by Memento Tuxedo Black Chocolate Chip by Stampin' Up
pens- Bluebonnet by ZIG Indigo and Turquoise by Martha Stewart Aqua by Sharpie
pencils-Sky blue by Crayola watercolor Light aqua by prismacolor
paint-raven by prism King's gold and white by apple barrel
Glue by Scotch 3M
glue dots by Elmer's craft bond
all blue flowers by Prima
cream flowers by Making Memories
blue tag and chipboard button by K&Co
metal clip by Making Memories
scallop punch by Stampin' Up
Ribbon in a bin at Michaels, was a remnant I think
Font-Angelic War (available on internet for download)
Titanic-by my hand
Boarding Pass by the Titanic Museum in Branson, MO

thanks to CR84FN for the inspiration colors, they were perfect for Frou Frou's boarding pass from the Titanic museum. Those of you that enjoy the Titanic, check out the museums in Branson or Pigeon Forge. They are expensive but SOOOOOO worth it.

15 April 2011

RMS Titanic

It was 99 years ago today that the greatest (for the lack of a better term) maritime disaster in history happened. The Titanic has fascinated me since I was a small child. I could not believe the story at first and then as I got older I began to study about the ship, it's building in Belfast, the people that created sailed died and the few that survived. I have read many of the books (the greatest by Walter Lord who survived the disaster) and seen the movies.

Last week (the day before the 99th anniversary of the ship leaving Southhampton) we went to the Titanic museum in Branson. Trevor and I have been wanting to see this for quite some time (he too is Titanic buff, actually he likes all shipwrecks...his favorite is the Andera Doria). The museum was a wonder. They had many artifacts from the wreckage, the construction and had even recreated some aspects of the ship (including the grand staircase). My only complaint was there was no mention of the SS California commanded by Stanley Lord. My best guess is that they did not want to start controversy, or simply that they are trying to rewrite history...not really sure, I just know that THIS should have been presented and was not. Homage was paid to the Cunard Carpathia and its courageous captain Arthur Rostron. Bravo to them!

Next year marks the 100th anniversary, I would love so much to take the re-creation sailing leaving Southhampton, Cherbourg then going to Queenstown......then on the site were approx 2 miles below the ocean's surface lies the worlds most famous wreckage. Then it will take a trip to Nova Scotia to view a burial ground and ending where the Titanic should have stopped New York City. What an awesome trip that would be...what a sad trip that would be...

04 April 2011

Where's my Rosie

When I was a child George Jetson showed me a world with electronic cooking devices, cars that became briefcases, flying cars and a robot that would help clean the house. Robots that clean houses? What a novel idea...Jane Jetson could use her little duster for 5 minutes, push a few buttons on the computer to make supper and then shop for a new frock. Well, Jane Jetson I am angry with you for teasing me with this robot. As a child I dreamed of the day where I would have a grand house in the clouds and my husband would drive a flying car on the freeway. My son would have a pet named Orbity and my daughter would be very hip in the sky high school...but most of all that I would have a maid named Rosie that would assist me in my house cleaning.

Meet George Jetson
His boy Elroy,
Daughter Judy,
Jane his wife.....
do do do do do do do do

03 April 2011

Paducah writer? Lucky me!

I am very excited to be the Paducah Child Care Examiner for Examiner.com. Please check it out! Let me know what you think. thank you


01 April 2011

april apps revised

I know it is still April 1st, but I have to revise my April app picks. I have discovered in the last 10 hours new apps that have totally blown me away.

1. Branson, MO---we have a time share here so it is really just an informative app that I will only use when planning a trip to Branson. very nice

2. Cozi--my new favorite calendar now that I have a 64 bit computer and google sync will not sync to it. This will sync to my outlook and google AND it is sooooo easy to add events. I actually am glad that the google sync doesn't sync and I had to find a new way to keep my life straight

3. Cruise Cams--Deck cams from ships...I love them!!!

4. AAA discounts---I am always asking "do you take our AAA?" This tells me so I don't have to ask...NICE

5. Elvis Presley Tube---Elvis videos...like a you tube channel for Elvis

6. Pro Baseball 2011---Baseball scores in case you need them

7. Ship Mate (Carnival, Norwegian, Princess and Celebrity I have all 4)....perfection!!! This tells me where the ships are currently, EVERY ship in each lines fleet. It will give me itineraries, shore excursions, and my favorite DECK PLANS! Requires NO internet! the perfect app for a cruise junkie like myself (one that studies various ships just for fun)

8. StL Baseball---highlights and stuff about the cards. So I can make sure they are losing.

9. SPB mobile shell 3d---my favorite interface for my windows phone, now giving it an Android run

10. Beatles Millionaire---Who wants to be a millionaire....Beatles style. LOVE IT!! It plays music clips with every question.

April Apps

It's April time for my favorite apps

1. Words with Friends
2. Laputa
3. Nook
4. Kindle
5. Vignette
6. Droid Words
7. The US Presidents
8. WPSD radar
9. QVC
10. MSNBC.com
11. Team Coco
12. Tv.com
13. Cozi
14. AAA roadside
15. Travel Diary
16. Gas Buddy
17. Text free
18. Gesture search
19. Animated Widget
20. Apps organizer (this one has saved me, my 7 screens were full thanks to this app I have 2 empty screens)