Friday, February 28, 2014

Off and Running

I decided to try another year at the Project Life book. After last year, there are a few things I'm going to do differently:

1. Last year each month had a different color background paper. I liked the look of it when the finished product came - so did Mike. However, I am going to try and all gray background this year. It's a neutral color and then I'm not limited each month to only a certain set of papers/colors to match. There were a few times last year that I was so sick of a certain set of colors by the end of the month I wanted to pull my hair out.

2.  At the beginning of last year I would just give a general overview of the week. Somewhere along the lines I broke it down in to one thing we did per day in paragraph format. This year I'm going to keep it broken down by day, but it will be more bullet list format.

3.  Maddie didn't like the blog posts having to do with these layouts. I liked them because it was like killing two birds with one stone: I got the pages done and people got a bit of an idea of what was happening in our lives. So, I will only post the month's worth of layouts at the end of each month. I apologize in advance if I don't get posts up having nothing to do with this. Blame Maddie.

That said - here's January's layouts. February will come along in awhile.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Project Life 2013 Wrap

I did it! I completed an entire year of layouts - 52 two-page layouts, to be exact! Some weeks were a little more difficult than others and I had to push to get pictures taken, but overall it wasn't terrible and I LOVE the result!

I ordered my book from Mixbook and I will definitely be using them again!

I have to say - I originally ordered from Persnickety Prints because I'd read such great things about their print quality for separate pages. I had only read one book review, but it too was rated very favorably. However, that book was a mess - the cover was a type of plastic-y coating that was already coming off by the time I got it. The packaging was horrible and the corners were already worn as well. I was extremely sad because I had SO been looking forward to getting this project in hand after a full year of waiting.  I called their office in California, was directed to send an email to the owner and she promptly replied within an hour with a full refund and was glad I had sent pictures. I was impressed with their customer service, but didn't want to reprint this book with them. Perhaps if I ever get single pages printed I will look them up.

Anyway - more research and I found this company. Their book was a little more expensive than I was hoping to spend but after the first debacle I was hoping "You get what you pay for" would be very true in this instance.

It has a book cover, but under that is a really nice "leather" cover.

The print quality inside is good. I knew that it wouldn't be quite up to the standard as if I had these pages printed individually due to the printing process of any bound book. These are good though, and I am very pleased with them.

I debated getting these pages individually printed just for the purpose of better quality. However, size of book won out. If I had these individually printed I would have easily had to use two books for each year and I really didn't want that. Plus, it would have really pushed the cost of this project.

I was extremely happy to find a coupon online that gave me 30% off the book, plus free shipping! That actually ended up bringing the cost to $5 below the first book I ordered and it was such better quality. Plus, it arrived shrink wrapped to protect it from the elements and in a box that actually fit it (versus the mega-sized box the other company had sent theirs in that allowed a lot of jostling in transit). I think a lot of companies offer good discounts at the beginning of the year for just such projects so I am going to make sure everything is ready to go in January 2015 to jump on the great deals!

The best part of this whole process?  This...

Each kid has spent time looking through it. Mike has spent time looking through it. I've spent time looking through it. We've all giggled and reminisced over some things from last year. Everyone has enjoyed it and I hope it will be pulled out many times over the years to come!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Hi Again

We've been plugging along here up north and I must say, I'm surprised to be reaching the end of February already.

Since I my last update, there hasn't been anything crazy stellar going on.  So - here's a numbered update:

1.  Maddie's been a cooking phenom...

This is only a smidgen of what she has accomplished.  This particular morning she tried "German Pancakes".  She was incredibly frustrated because they didn't seem to be cooking the right way, but I thought they were yummy.  A puff pastry type of thing almost.  She outdid herself by also completely setting the table fancy (complete with chocolate chips and sprinkles...except Mike's plate because he hates sprinkles).  It was accompanied by some scrambled eggs that had a special ingredient of cream cheese, I think.  Again...I thought they were yummy but she was disappointed.  She must be a good cook though...don't most cooks complain about their own cooking?

She's also tried crepes.  While they were good as well, they were stuff with chocolate chips.  We all enjoy a bit of chocolate now and again here, but even Jake (our choc-o-holic) agreed that it was a little too much chocolate.  I believe she's currently looking for a better filling that will satisfy everyone.

2.  Sweet for my Sweets

For Valentine's Day I had a little time in the afternoon and looked up giant cookie recipes.  I surprised the kids with this when they got home.  I had to leave it in the pan because it was too big for Mike and I had to spatula out without breaking it.  However, do you know what happens to cookies that stay on the hot pan?  They continue cooking.  By the time the kids got home it was hard as a rock and we almost lost some teeth.  Mike managed to break it up and stuff it in a plastic container with some bread (to make them soft again) and most of the cookie was salvaged.

3.  This white stuff...

Driving through our neighborhood I giggle a little at the size of snow piles at the ends of driveways. It doesn't seem like we've had an inordinate amount of snow, but apparently we've done okay. The last couple weeks have seen a steady rise in snow levels, probably because it's finally warm enough for it TO snow! The kids actually got last Friday off for a legitimate snow day. Until that point, all the days off had been for cold temperatures. Maddie took on the driveway with the snowblower and did a pretty good job of things.  She only backed into herself once or twice.  Like mother, like daughter.

On the plus side - Boys State Hockey playoffs are in a couple weekends and that is when I have a mental cut-off for snow. We'll enjoy the beauty of snow on trees for a bit longer, but at least half of my family will be hoping spring is truly around the corner!

4.  A last minute decision...

A couple Friday nights ago we were sitting around contemplating the weekend and we decided it to go skiing again. We almost headed back to Spirit Mountain in Duluth because we had such a good time there, but decided that the 10 degree warmth the "south" offered was better as well as not having to deal with a three hour drive.  We headed to Afton Alps - a mere hour away and spent the day on the slopes. We really had a great time. The kids loved the terrain park and there were tons of different runs and lots of chair lifts to get you where you wanted to be. Hopefully we can get back there at least once more before the year ends.  I'm very happy with our use of skis this year. It wasn't crazy - but we've gone on a couple nice day trips that have been great for us all!

There you have it. January and most of February in a nutshell.