Feb 7 2013

Leading Gently

After yesterday’s realization at Bible study, today’s MOPs presentation was a great follow up. Our mentor mom gave us an overview of The Five Love Languages for Children, then we watched part of a Hearts at Home presentation from Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar.

Michelle had some good tips. How can I gently lead? By training my children. As a mom, the most important character qualities I should display to them are love and meekness. Show them love and ask for forgiveness when I make a mistake.

The most fundamental qualities I need to train my children to have are attentiveness, obedience, and self control. Once I can expect these things from them, leading should be much easier because they will be trained to listen and obey my voice.

Michelle uses this chart and reminds her kids as she teaches them these character qualities that her number one desire for them is to have a right relationship with God by loving Him with all their heart, soul, and mind.

Here are some other resources Michelle has posted.

Feb 6 2013

Good and Gentle Shepherd

This week for our Encounter Bible study, we dove into John 10. Jesus declares that He is the Good Shepherd.

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.

John 10:14-15 ESV

After our small group discussion, we joined the other small groups for a lecture. One thing that stuck out to me about the Messiah as shepherd was this:

He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.

Isaiah 40:11 ESV

He will gently lead those that are with young. What a comforting thought! The Good Shepherd will not drive us. He will not beat us to go further. He will stop when we need rest. As a mom in the early years of mothering, I am glad for the fact that my Savior will lead me gently with my young; He will not give me more than I can handle (even though it seems that way at times).

I also need to be a gentle shepherd to my little flock. Sometimes I try to drive them when they need carrying. Sometimes I keep going when they need rest.

Lord, help me to be a kind, gentle shepherd, like you, to my little lambs.

How can I lead gently?

Jan 2 2013

MOPs and Photography

I’m a part of a local Mothers of Prschoolers group who wanted to have a speaker on photography. Moms and photography? Perfect combination. We are always pulling out our cameras to snap cute things our kids do.

I started my photography journey as a scrapbooker who wanted to get nicer photos to go into the pages I was designing. Enter The Daily Digi and Katie the Scrapbook Lady. The Daily Digi regularly has photography posts from Katrina Kennedy who explains things in a way that is so easy to understand. Katie the Scrapbook Lady raves about classes that Katrina teaches on her blog.

I signed up for Katrina’s daily photo prompt emails and soon received an invite and discount for Your Life Captured Through the Lens. This class helps you hone your composition skills and teaches you haw to go from using auto modes on your camera to taking full control with manual mode. I decided to sign up and learned a ton.

Well, bragging about how much I learned through this class got me asked to actually present at MOPs. So, here I am, night before the presentation, finalizing everything. I hope everyone finds this helpful! I have linked to the handout so you can click through to the handy links I posted in the reference section.

Oct 15 2012

Hall Closet Organization

Today I organized the hall closet after having difficulty finding things and an avalanche of towels upon opening the door on laundry day. Here it is all nice and neat.


How did I get it s neat and organized you say? First I simply got rid of some things that were just hanging out and I don’t use.

Secondly, i learned how to fold fitted sheets so they only take up as much room as a folded flat sheet. Take a look at this video, and you will be on your way to a neat linen closet too. Thanks Mom for finding the video!

Sep 23 2012

Meal Organization

As we have added children to our family, reevaluating and reorganizing my way of doing things around the home has become a must. I think I finally have gotten a meal/ grocery routine down that works for me and thought I would share it here in hopes it would help someone else too.

A couple years ago, I bought a locker marker board to put on my fridge. This board is dedicated to holding my running list of grocery items that are needed. When I use up a package, bottle, or carton of a regularly stocked kitchen (or household) item such as mac and cheese, ketchup, or butter, I write it down on the board. On grocery shopping day, that list is typed into my phone so I will have it with me at the store.

A simple magnet locker white board

I also just recently added another magnet marker board to my arsenal. This one lives on the chest freezer in my basement. I keep a dynamic inventory on the board so that I know what is in my freezer without needing to stick my head in there and claw around searching for that chicken breast I know that must be in there somewhere.

The marker is magnetic too!

Freezer list

The last weapon I use in my battle against meal planning chaos is an iPad app and desktop program called Paprika. It is wonderful for finding and storing recipes and using them in the kitchen as you cook. It also has a great meal planning calendar. After you add recipes to the menu, you can create a grocery list for a specific meal or for the week of meals. The grocery list is organized into categories for your shopping ease.

Putting everything together, I can take my grocery list, go down to the basement, “shop” in the freezer, then add remaining items to my phone list. I also add to dos to my calendar to take items out of the freezer for the next day’s meal. This last step of adding to do’s to the calendar has saved me many nights of “oops, I forgot to take that out of the freezer, now what will we eat?”

My grocery spending is down because I know what I have and what I need. My time is organized and preparing dinner is more enjoyable. I plan a week ahead so now it is a rare night that I don’t know what to make for dinner. My meal plan is flexible enough that if I don’t feel like the planned meal that night, I could probably switch to another meal from that week as a substitute.

This organization has brought peace to one part of my life. Now to work on another part! What works for you in kitchen/ meal management? What other home areas have you re-engineered so that your life is smoother?

Sep 16 2012

What’s for Dinner?

Smelling the roast cooking when we came home from church today reminded me of Sundays when I was young, and mom would have dinner cooking in the oven. She would start dinner before we left for church in the morning, and by the time we got home, the fragrance would fill the house and make everyone anxious for the mashed potatoes to be finished cooking because, of course, we were all STARVING!

Mom would have me mix the cornstarch slurry to make the gravy, she would get the vegetable ready, and dad would mash the potatoes.

I’m thankful that my mom showed her love to us by making meals from scratch and teaching me to do the same.

Pot Roast

May 7 2012

Adobe Configurator

Have you heard of Adobe Configurator? It’s a nifty feature that I learned about while watching Photoshop User TV hosted by Scott Kelby.

You can create your own custom tool panel to use within Photoshop CS5 or Illustrator. I created a panel of the tools that I use most while creating a scrapbook page. In addition to creating your own panel, you can also save it to share with others (or yourself on different computers).

Here is a screenshot of my panel:

Configurator Panel

I also made a custom workspace:

Set up your photoshop windows the way you want them to be every time you open the program, then go to Window-> New Workspace. Save the workspace with an appropriate name. Now while creating, I have the things I use most often at my fingertips. And, the nice part is I can edit these things as my skills develop to suit my needs.

Photoshop Workspace

Apr 27 2012

Pick One Spot

GirlTalk Blog had a contest to pick one spot in your home, beautify it, and submit before/after pictures for a chance to win $100 to your favorite home store.

Thought I’d share how my garden changed. Even if I don’t win, I am really happy to see this little spot as I walk into my home. Now for the garden on the other side of the front stoop…



Update: I didn’t win. Here’s the link to see the winners. They deserved it :) First Place and Runner Up

Mar 14 2012

How Do You Get a Family Portrait?

Question: How do you get a family portrait when your family is spread all over the country?

Answer: Take multiple photos and merge them with a photo editing program.

The solution is easier said than done. When I was back home in September, I had everyone get together for a family photo. The only family missing was my middle brother’s. When taking the picture, I left some blank space in the background:


I then asked my brother to send me some photos of his family against a blank wall. Unfortunately, one of his photos was way overexposed. Being a novice photographer, I wasn’t sure what to do, so I started fiddling with the exposure and other settings in Lightroom and Photoshop. The photo was not coming out well, so I put my photo project on the back burner.

Just a few weeks ago I was looking for some new scrapbooking blogs to read that have tutorials regularly. I found Mye DeLeon and her post here about fixing underexposed photos in Photoshop. At the end of the post, Mye also talks about how to fix overexposed pictures by duplicating the layer and changing the blend mode to multiply. So easy and made my picture usable!




20111211-Serious pic layers.jpg

After a lot more layering with adjustment layers to equalize the color and lighting in each photo so that they would blend, I finally have a finished product. A little late for Christmas, but just in time for Easter.

All Together.jpg

Jan 28 2012

Speed Scrap Fun

For those unfamiliar with digital scrapbooking, there are fun challenges to complete online to help you get pages finished. One is called a speed scrap. You are given directions and a certain amount of time to complete the assignment. It’s neat to see how many different pages are created when everyone is using the same directions.

Here are the directions from Stuff to Scrap Speed Scrap 322:

  1. Pick out 4 Papers, 2 Patterned, 2 plain and 2 Photos.

  2. Layer the 4 papers as your background Patterned Plain Patterned Plain. Adjust them however you like as long as you can see some of all 4.

  3. Crop your 2 photos into Squares or at least the same shape as each other. One Big & 1 Small and place them overlapping on a lower corner.

  4. Layer 3 Ribbons / RicRac / Stitches / Strings under the photos along the bottom of the layout.

  5. Add as many elements to the photo ribbon cluster as you would like. I only used 2 but if you want more to cluster by all means.

  6. Add Journalling above the ribbons, beside the photos.

  7. Add any drop shadows and last minute touches & a title if you wish. Upload to the gallery & post it in the forum. You have 1 hour from now.

And my page…


Forever in Blue Jeans by Scraps of Ellay
Page inspired by “Do Everything” by Steven Curtis Chapman

Now for the kicker, I created this cute page, but in the process of saving it for the web, I lost the original file. Boo. At least I have a pattern to copy though.