Saturday, December 19, 2009

Kiddie Pool Snow Dump

This one actually comes from my sister, Mandy. We've got almost two feet of snow, and it's still coming down. The kids haven't gotten out in it yet (pic is from last year), but when they do, I'll be the one dealing with 4 sets of snow clothes (3 kids and a husband). Mandy puts a kiddie pool inside her front door, in our case it would be the enclosed porch, to collect all the wet snow gear. Then you can hang it up when you get around to it, which could be never. : ) Great idea, Mandy!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

JOY Display

I'm almost embarrassed to admit it, but after being a consultant for 2 years, this is my first workshop. I'm way too critical of my work to assume something I design would be worth actually charging my friends for. Besides, I hate taking money from my friends (which makes this whole sales thing a bit squeamish anyway.)

Basically, the workshop participants bought a Jingle paper pack ($12.95) and an accordion display ($3.95). I precut all the supplies, using my Cricut and punches, and with the rest of the paper in the pack, I'm teaching the super-funky craft of folding paper gift boxes. They're big enough to put holiday treats in for teachers and neighbors, and there's no adhesive necssary. Quite a bargain for $18, I thought.

My 3 little elves really do bring me joy. And now that I'm done with school, the magic of the season is upon us! Happy holidays, everyone!


Monday, October 5, 2009

Preschool Halloween Party

This one is for all you preschool room moms looking for ideas for the classroom Halloween party. Being that the attention span of the average 3-4 year old is akin to a gnat, I'd recommend stations they can come and go from freely. My favorite 3 Halloween stations are...

Station #1: Witches Brew
For this station you will need one of those huge black plastic cauldrons, a box of gallon zip-lock bags, and at least 2 large stirring devices like a soup ladel or plastic shovel. Ahead of time I have the kids sign up to bring a "brew" ingredient, such as
  • cheerios
  • teddy grahams (all flavors)
  • chocolate chips
  • raisins
  • Coco Puffs
  • mini pretzels
  • mini marshmallows
  • Kixx cereal
  • butterscotch chips, etc.
Basically, each child gets a turn (2 at a time if you want) to dump in her ingredient and stir the brew. Sometimes we sing silly Halloween songs as we stir, or you could quote some 'Macbeth' if you're feeling nerdy. Once it's all been stirred in, you've got the class party snack. ladel into little black plastic bowls, and while they're snacking, divvy up the rest into gallon ziplock bags to take home. It seriously makes a ton, don't skimp and go sandwich baggie. It's not hummus and carrots, but it's healthier than cake and cookies.
Station #2-Halloween craft.
This is wiiiiiide open, because there are TONS of Halloween craft ideas. My favorite go-to site is Family Fun Magazine. However, one of our faves is the glue ghostie. Allow the kids to push a small puddle of Elmer's glue around on a sheet of aluminum foil into a ghost shape, then drop on some googly eyes. Let dry.
Station #3- Dress up the teacher (see pic)
Mrs. Jones isn't likely to fit into your daughter's 4T Sleeping Beauty costume**, so I'd recommend limiting the dress-up stash to accessories (our favorite is the gas mask/rainbow clown wig combo). Add some facepaint grease pencils, and you have at least 15 min. of entertainment for the kids. Of course, the teacher has to be a willing soul. And it's especially fun when you can get the principal/center director involved- especially if he's male- and especially if he's bald. What a beautiful art canvas!
**although my 22 year-old brother managed a 2T tutu (don't ask.)
Happy Halloweening, ya'll!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Princess Savannah

I blogged about this Princess party in another post- "Princess Dragon-slayer." Here is a layout from the party way back in July 2008. This is Savannah's third birthday party, and she has since had her 4th at Chuck E. Cheese. I should be getting to that layout in about 2011. Doesn't it just figure that as soon as I complete the pages, I find super cute "Princess party" themed embellishments on clearance? Oh, well. With 3 girls, it's not as if they will go unused.

Happy Fall, ya'll! : )

Monday, September 21, 2009

Our Gift

Surprise! Madeline really was a gift, because she was unexpected to say the least. A perfect and beautiful addition to our family. I used the paper pack Evensong from CTMH, and some sparkly stickers I had on hand. My goal is to use something old in my stash on every project. Now that Lexi scrapbooks and Savannah is a churn-'em-out card-maker, it's not hard. I'm just proud of myself for getting some Madeline pages done- she's going to have a complex later fer sure...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Glow Babies

Can you guess which is which??

What do you get when you put a glowstick on a string and a camera in a dark room with three kids?...A half hour of uninterrupted entertainment. Savannah proved to have the most party-girl potential. She already has all her rave candy in her dress up bin: fairy wings, sparkly wigs, bubble wrap skirt, she's good. The pictures I got of her "creative" movements lit up the room.

Lexi on the other hand like her big circles which made her look like a Maori hunter, and Madeline mostly just giggled and shrieked "My TURN!!" What made me think one glow stick among three girls would suffice?..

Thursday, September 10, 2009

First Day Tissue Box

I have to give credit to my sister- the Creative One- for this idea, but it fits nicely into our mantra that anything with a blank, flat, or ugly surface is deemed decorable. We all have to send in tissues on the first day of school, so what a great way for the teacher to get to know your student and how s/he spent the summer. Have her personalize the box with photos, art, stickers, whatever. 3-D objects might not make it through Sept. and an easy way of ensuring the photos stay on is to wrap the whole thing in packing tape. (Our other motto- "anything worth doing is worth overdoing.)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Forget the Knife

Unless you have a degree in geometry, carving a watermelon can be a fine science, not to mention messy. To cut time and mess, I use an ice cream scoop and gut that baby in 2 minutes flat. The kids can help and there is almost zero mess (except for this kid). Save the knife for fishing Barbie shoes out from under the stove.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

One Proud Mama

Isn't it every parents dream for their child to follow in their footsteps? And she did it without coersion, I swear! Lexi has been curious for some time about what I do in my craft room, and has watched over my should while I put together my masterpieces. So when she said, "Can I try?" I almost wiped away a tear.

To simplify the process, I put coordinating supplies in front of her and let her have at it. She asked questions about matting photos, and how to place them. We even used the Cricut... It was hard to let her do everything on her own, especially with the title "Ireland dance." I asked (a couple times) if she meant "Irish dance," and she was adamant. (Just let it go, Cori, she's six and already doing better work than when I started.)

Hopefully, it will blossom into a mother-daughter activity both of us enjoy, which means I need to get a job. Funding my own habit is tough enough.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


The Garden Grille restaurant at Epcot was super cool! It actually spins revealing different nature scenes throughout your meal. Being that we were pretty much the only ones there at 4:30 for dinner (get your reservations AS SOON as you book your vacation), the characters spent a LOT of time with us. Madeline still wasn't feeling it, but the girls were so tuned in, they explained how to tell them a part- Chip has a red nose and Dale has a black nose. Good to know...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Oldie, But Goodie

I'm posting this blast from the past for 2 reasons:
a. It's one of the few spreads I didn't scraplift or rely on "external inspiration" in any way. It's a Cori original (rare).
b. I have one follower, and I'm pretty sure it's my husband, so Ricardo...I wanted to upload something just for you.
The spread is from 2003, the birth of our first precious bundle, Lexi Blair. We tried for so long to have her, that it really was a dream come true. (Then bam, bam! Two more and no more time for dreamin'!) I still love the mosaic look, but that was when I had 2 days to spend on a page. Enjoy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mom's Book

Okay, so this 8x8 album is her Mother's Day 2009 gift, and I'm still not done with it. However, in my defense, we didn't go to Disney World until the end of May, soooo it might turn into a partial Christmas present. We'll see...
First page: Probably our favorite park, Magic Kingdom. I used the Mickey font on the Cricut, some sparkly confetti string and the map of the park as background. Yes, that's my 6' 4", 300 lb. husband in the teacup with the girls...(he'll love me saying that.)

Page 2: Our favorite character meal was Chef Mickey's at the Polynesian Resort. Who doesn't love a breakfast buffet in the middle of the day? Madeline wasn't much into the characters, but loved the napkin dance. Advice: take your kids on their birthday- they get all kinds of attention. My mom also managed to piss off Donald by telling him Mickey was a great cook. Only she can create drama with fictional characters.

Page 3: Pixie Hollow- we got to meet Tinkerbell, Irridessa, and Rosetta. It was a bit lost on the girls because they hadn't seen the movie, but it was cool watching it later. It was like seeing old friends in a movie. I was impressed at the lengths Tinkerbell went to to uphold the true nature of her character- a bit impatient, stamping her foot, etc. Cute. I had no idea a 21 year-old "woman" could wear a 4T...

Page 4: Forgot to take pics of both pages, oh well. Eat your heart out, ladies! I cut out the genie lamp by hand (and won't mention that it's draft #44.) Aladdin might have been my favorite character because he looked SO much like the original, which I might add I had a huge crush on in junior high. Jasmine was just as beautiful, but whatever. Being the first characters we met, my kids were shy and speechless. Savannah just giggled a lot.

Page 5: Hollywood Studios (previously MGM). One of Madeline's new words is Einsteins. She shrieked it repeatedly the last day we were there, which is when she decided to warm up to the characters. Our favorite ride was at Hollywood- the Toy Story Midway Mania ride, even Savannah could play this interactive game. (And for the record, mommy had the high score.)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Card box

Anything in my house with a flat, blank or ugly surface has the potential of being embellished or redone. Here is a box I covered to serve as my card know, to keep all the cards I make for birthdays, babies, etc. As it turns out, it's just a pretty box because I make 'em as I need 'em. Maybe I'll use it to keep the cards I receive and intend to copy. Hmmm....

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tip #2

Another Smelly Tip:
They say your sense of smell is the sense most closely related to memory. Before you go on your next big vacation, buy a perfume you've never worn before and wear it the duration of your stay. Every time you wear it thereafter, you'll be reminded of your getaway. For me, I'll always equate Lancome's Miracle with Europe (and being 50 lbs. heavier, so maybe not such a good thing...)

Honor the Queen

My creativity guru is my sister, Mandy, the Queen of Craft. Her magic wand is her sewing machine, although her repertoire is hardly limited. So I made this "scrapbook in a day" for her at my favorite scrapbook store, Recollections in Sterling. The store was bought and closed, fodder for another post.

So here we go... Christmas sweaters from Grandma Gladys and Girl Scouts circa 1984. Note the French braids that I swore I would never curse my children with. I lied. At least they don't get screamin' red yarn bows longer than the braids.Left: Making a sisterly totem pole with other sis, Julia.

Right: Julia's high school graduation party including our brother, Matt. Somehow we have very few pictures of the four of us.

Dinosaurland before it took a turn for the worse and softball uniforms. Wearing the hat to the side was my Salt-n-Peppa look. I also had an eyes half closed pouty Madonna look.
Believe it or not, my mom refuses to let go of the scarf-neck 70s look. And I'm still a bit bitter about the East bonnet flying saucer hats. We look like the preacher in Poltergeist II.

Gotta love kilts! Another Grandma Gladys special. I included this pic to honor Mandy's favorite movie line from Dances With Wolves, "There ain't no one here, Lieutenant. They done all run off and got themselves KILT!" Beginning my love affair with the ocean and doing our Charlie's Angels thing.

Skate World (left) in Lynchburg is probably my Happy Place- so many memories took place there...birthday parties, being the first of my friends to learn to skate backwards and my first kiss.

Mandy was always cuter than me. I'm good with that. On the right is one of my favorite pictures of us ever- dandelion hunting on the Evans farm. (Again with the Easter bonnets!)

And finally, playing pirate dress-up with mom. That's her on the left. "Mom, make a gnarly pirate face!" This is what we got...because she knew there was a camera present.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tip #1

Tip #1: When car fresheners start to die, put them in your purse!
I was convinced that my daughter's recent asthma flair-up had to do with my Yankee candle burning and car air-freshener. I didn't have anywhere to put the freshener, so I stuck it in my purse until we got home. Of course I forgot about it, so now every time I'm rooting for something, I get a fresh burst of coconut-y paradise. Ahh!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Princess Dragon-Slayer

Who needs a knight when the princess is perfectly capable? For Savannah's 3rd birthday, she wanted a Princess party. We went over-the-top, of course, and her favorite part was slaying the dragon. And she didn't just slay it, she severed its head in two. You may be thinking this a bit macabre, but if you really knew my family...To this day, whenever we go to a birthday party, she always asks if there's going to be a dragon cake.

We practiced this cake (that we stole out of Family Fun, seriously, I haven't had an original idea since 1991), but then Savannah decided she wanted a girl dragon like Shrek. We made it pink with pretty toenails and eyelashes.

...And every princess needs a throne...glitter glue is the best thing ever. Especially Stickles. I look around my house sometimes wondering what I can stickle next....

Guests arrived in full princess attire where there were greeted by big sister Lexi and given a quick "pedicure." (Don't know why the pic is vertical.) Then they decorated pink sparkly wands.

I read the girls the book The Princess and the Pea which ends with everyone realizing she's a REAL princess because she felt the pea under all those mattresses. We played a game to decide if each of the girls was a real princess. They took turns sitting on 2 different pillows too see if they could feel which one had the green golf ball under it. (And we just made sure they were all real princesses.) I continued the story after the game with Savannah as the main character who slays the dragon (the cake) and defeats an evil witch. Thank goodness another big girl sibling was willing to dress as a witch, run around the yard, and let all the princesses chuck tie-dyed water balloons (swirling magic juice) at her. It was a lot of fun, and I had one very grateful Tinkerbell, fairy, magic, mermaid, princess.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Family Literacy

There are really only 3 things I feel I've done right as a mom:
1. Convinced my kids to like veggies,
2. Enforced "please" and "thank you" so they do it on their own
3. Created bookworms

My girls love books (and thank God! As a librarian it would be pretty embarrassing if they didn't.) Now that Lexi can read, it's like adding another team member to the bedtime routine, even if it is the Daisy Girl Scout Handbook, whatever! Lexi enjoys reading to her sisters, it makes her feel like the big girl. She's tolerates Madeline's enthusiastic "page-turning" and Savannah's 101 questions per page.

What I think is cool about the scrapbook page is the voice recorder at the bottom. CTMH carries it, and I recorded Lexi's voice reading Pooh's Halloween, the first "real" book she could read.

So here are a few of our favorite family reads:
  • The Prince Won't Go to Bed (#1 hands down, Savannah memorized all 32 pages.)
  • The Tale of Despereaux
  • Pinkalicious
  • Everyone Poops
  • Alice the Fairy
  • Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies
  • Knuffle Bunny (I had to hide this one)
  • That's Not My __________ (We have fairy, robot, puppy, mermaid, princess, and snowman)
  • Any of the Berenstain Bears
  • The Water Hole

Friday, May 1, 2009

Chloe's Cake

...Okay, so cakes aren't my thing. That's okay, I still had fun making this sleepover cake for my 4YO niece, Chloe. The Denton Crew is coming to spend the weekend with us and my kids are fogging up the windows waiting for them to arrive. I thought I would distract them with a little culinary creativity.

The cake is inspired (okay, copied) from Family Fun magazine, but I added my own flair with Cricut letters. Have I mentioned how much I L.O.V.E. my Cricut? I even used it to decorate my husband's 9th grade World History classroom. I digress...

We used marshmallows for the pillows, nilla wafers for the heads, 1/2 twinkies for the bodies, and fruit by the foot for the bed decor. The whole process was a little surreal because my sister does this for a living. I kept asking myself, 'Why am I bothering?' The answer: because the 4YO will love it! (And it's been a long time since I've had cake.)

Sunday, April 19, 2009


My sweet baby Madeline is 18 mos. old now, but this is one of the few pages I've managed to eek out of her since we became a family of five. (Soccer practice, baby gym classes, dance, etc. leave little time for creating.) I love taking pictures of their teeny little body parts like these little monkey hands with a deathgrip on a slippery peeled peach.
I won't lie, the layout is a straight up scraplift from CTMH's idea book Imagine (pg. 24-25). Why re-invent the wheel, knowwhatImean? And the paper is one of my faves, Emporium. Very versatile for boys and girls.
Shameless plug time! If you're into paper crafts, you have to check out one of the best blogs there is Pickled Paper Designs. My friend Amy will absolutely blow. your. mind. It's not fair that a real person/mom/desperate housewife is that talented. She IS her own design team.
And my friend Marti started her own craft business online. Checkout Pez-a-doodle Design Studios. For someone who has been scrapbooking/cardmaking for less than two years- she REALLY caught the bug. She even has her own stampline. Craziness!
That's all from me...gotta get busy on my brother's graduation project.

Friday, April 17, 2009

It Could've Been Worse...I guess.

The following is an email I sent to some friends who would understand on April 11, 2008 titled “Welcome to Hell…”

Do you ever have one of those days when you just have to celebrate your failure as a parent or you'd lose it? My kids are driving me to drink. I'm totally back on the sauce. Real Coke that is, in all its sugary glory.

Their behavior is at an all-time unacceptable low. I had all three in a bathroom stall at Friday's yesterday, when Mother Nature decided to show up. "Mommy, what's that?" So add to that hormones. I guess this is a good thing, though, because being 3 1/2 weeks late, I was about to start some research on vasectomies I didn't really want to.

This morning I actually said, "Wait 'til your father gets home!" for the first time ever. Lexi had something behind her back and a guilty look on her face. She handed me a handful of rubble, and I didn't even know what I was looking at. I felt like I needed one of those little jeweler scopes to figure it out. As I was pushing around the little pieces, I could just make out a hoof. OH, GOOD LORD!! Here comes Savannah with the rest of the wilted porcelain carousel music box family heirloom. First of all who makes such a fragile detailed thing for kids, and secondly who actually gives them one?? (A: in-laws) ((Just in case anyone in our family is reading this, it's my fault. I should have taken better care of it.))

After that I needed to breathe, so I went down to put wet clothes in the dryer and stayed down there a couple minutes longer than I should have. As long as the girls weren't spoon-feeding the baby Ranch with a Barbie leg, I didn't care.

Not long after, I was changing the 1024th pull-up (which I am SO over) when the baby puked and 2 wasps flew into the enclosed porch at the same time. I didn't have enough arms! Then I realized Savannah escaped bare-assed and she was on the run down to the play set. The definition of risk management- the baby getting stung is more of a priority than Savannah getting splinters in her ass.

I put on such a great show for the kids trying to kill the wasps that they came back up by themselves. By the way, we have too many #&*^%@ toys on the porch. I just started chucking them out into the yard. It was raining Little Tykes. Lexi must have figured I was on the brink because she went to take her nap without me telling her to. Savannah, not so lucky.

I'm changing my name to Beyonce' Cleopatra Winfrey. Right now, anything but "mommy" because Savannah has been in her room screaming it for the past 40 minutes. After about 20 min. she kicked it up to the "You-Don't-Think'-I'm-Serious?" cry, which sounds like a wounded rabid raccoon.

I guess I'm writing this as evidence for my insanity plea when I have to off a few. My husband is on his way to Winchester to pick up my Godson who is spending the weekend with us. Lucky for him he’s a good kid. If things get any worse, don't be surprised if I show up on your doorstep just to hide. Thanks for listening!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Maternal Brain

Original post date- 12/06 on MySpace

As I sat waiting for my Chinese takeout the other day, the only reading material available was American Scientific Magazine. Awesome! I've got at least a good 6-7 min., these guys are quick. Long after my food was ready, I sat absorbed in an article called "The Maternal Brain." Outings by myself are rare and I wasn't in a hurry to get back. What a wealth of information! (Yeah, Matt. I get it, I'm a nerd. Let's move on...)

The article was about how a woman's brain changes beginning THE DAY she conceives. I won't go into detail about specific areas of the brain or what hormones kickstart it, but it was fascinating. As she practices her foraging (yardsales), nesting (Under-the-Sea themed nursery), and other survival skills necessary to have babies, information that used to be vital (Lyrics to Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) is replaced! I need the music to get it started...

It's a creepy visual, but mommy rats run races to food sources twice as fast as virgin rats. They can find their food AND their babies that have been moved to a different area of the maze faster than it takes the virgin rat to find the food. It gives me a certain satisfaction to know that I could kick Hannah Montana's ass at something.

I also learned that breastfeeding is addictive. That explains my mom. (Mom, after 12 years of "nourishing," your boob job is completely justified!) When a mother is breastfeeding, the brain releases endorphins making it a pleasurable experience. NOT the same kind of pleasurable...nevermind. I always wondered how a new mommy dog could tolerate her leaping litter attaching like leeches. She was high!

I thought I was going nuts when Lexi was about 6 weeks old. My brain wasn't in pristine working order. (It didn't help that we were living in an RV because Hurricane Isable knocked out power for 17 days.) I even got in the car to go somewhere, and after 10 minutes forgot where I was going. I had to turn around and come home and never remembered where I was going. That's when I really got worried. Now I know that it was just my brain sweeping away which alcoholic ingredients go into a Pissed Off Japanese Minnow Farmer to make way for what time she ate last, and when she eats next.

Mommies, I would love to know what knowledge you've sacrificed to provide for your puppies...

How Friends Are Made

Original post date- 2/08

I was on the treadmill today at the gym, getting into a groove when a BIG dude got on the one next to me. I smiled at him and noticed that underneath the belly there was definitely a lurking athlete. He probably played ball in college, but like me, is several years removed. So I was trodding along to "Bring Me to Life" when I looked around and noticed that all the shirt and tie crowd had commuted off to work, leaving me and the dad from "Family Matters."

Although it was like sitting next to a stranger in an empty theater, it didn't get awkward until our feet were obviously CLOMPING in sync. No biggie, let's just kick this baby up a notch. I increased the speed giving my much shorter legs a half step advantage. Before I knew it, we were pacing again. I looked over at him. Was that a smirk on his face? Alrighty, then. Kick it up again….

I was swinging my arms to will my legs to go a little faster, and I guess I let out a little giggle or snort or something because my buddy laughed apparently at me. (Now I know why deaf people make…unusual noises.) I turned down the volume on my ipod just in case, and noticed him increase his speed again to match me.

Oh, it was on like Donkey Kong! I let him sweat a little bit, and then smiling straight ahead increased my speed to an easy run. I use the term "easy" relatively because running hasn't been easy since Mr. Wooldridge's "soccer" camp in 2nd grade. He immediately said, "Oh, hayl!" and started to run too.

Now let me be clear, neither one of us had any business punishing those machines, and there was the definite sound of skin slappin' skin. Coulda been my thighs, although he had just a tad of man-boob…

I had my arms in front of me like a T-Rex, trying to copy Forrest Gump's easy lope. The only person I was fooling was myself! Have you ever tried to suck wind quietly, so no one else would notice how out of breath you are? I was dying!

Next thing I know, one of my arms decided not to play nicely and struck out at God knows what. It caught the cord of my ipod, launched it out of the holder and smacked me right in the face! This threw off my gait, stumbling backward…I braced for the brick column behind me.

Apparently, I was right about Buddy being an athlete because I've never seen such a big man move so quickly. He caught me from falling, and even saved me total humiliation by saying, "I'm so glad you did that, you're killing me!" We agreed that if we meet there every other day at 10 am, we'll be ready for 'Dancing With the Stars' in no time. I didn't know large black men watched that show!

Alas, a friend was made.