Trying to push myself harder to capture the everyday moments. Sometimes I can barely get a quick photo. Sometimes I get lucky and that photo becomes a layout.

At the beginning of the month, I laughed as Elise once again kicked off her sock. Yes, sock as in singular. She will eventually kick off both, but there is something about the left one. It’s always the first to come off. I can’t recall what I was doing at the exact moment, but I stopped, grabbed my DSLR and took a couple quick shots of her bare cute baby toes before sticking her sock back on once again.

Baby Toes - February 2015

Supplies: Claire kit by Karen Funk; Good Dog kit by Audrey Neal.

It was fun playing with a couple of older kits to finish this simple layout. My interest was in highlighting the photo and telling the story because life changes so fast and I want to capture these little details.

I challenge you to capture your own everyday moment. It can be just a photograph or your own scrapbook page. You can even use the template I created making mine. Be sure to comment and leave me a link so I can take a look!

Baby Toes 12x12 templateThe template contains 9 layers and is free for personal use only.

Click here to download the Baby Toes template


Have you missed one of my previous digital freebies? Click HERE to find them. And, don’t forget to subscribe to my feeds so you won’t miss future freebies!

Last night after his shower, Dylan spiked his hair a bit and wanted a photo. I obliged, of course. Always take a photo when they want one. Then I asked if he wanted to hold Elise for a photo. Yes! They were both all giggles & smiles as I quickly snapped 3 pictures with my iPhone.

Project 52 Photos: Week 8 Outtake

The first came out pretty clear. The next two are fuzzy and definitely fit this week’s Outtake theme. I still love them though as you can “see” the movement caused by their laughter. Makes my heart happy.

Join in the fun at any time. Next week’s challenge is Black & White. Find the full list on Sarah Halstead’s blog here.

Project 52 Photos

Ever since completing the makeover on our small coat closet, I have wanted to add initials over the hooks for each of our children.

Small Wooden Initials: Letter D

Of course, when working on it, we didn’t have a name picked for Elise so I didn’t know what 2nd letter to purchase. Thus I waited. Fast forward to the end of the year and looking multiple places but not finding anything that really struck me as the “right” fit.

Then I saw a post on Simply Kierste with the cutest wooden letters used for Christmas ornaments which sent me running back to Michaels for another look. I wasn’t able to find the same style, but I did find some I liked and, at 99c each, they were a bargain.

Small Wooden Initials: before

I painted them dark blue with some leftover spray paint in the garage. After they dried, Dylan & I used sand blocks to scuff them up just a bit for a little character (which was a good 2 weeks later as I got distracted with other things!). ;)

Small Wooden Initials: painting & sanding

Next I added a coat of Mod Podge to seal them and add a tiny bit of a shiny finish before drilling holes and nailing them over the hooks in the closet.

Small Wooden Initials: adding Mod Podge

I literally used one long nail in each since I was nailing them directly to the studs.

Small Wooden Initials

Simple, quick, easy and we have a fun little decorative feature over each hook.

We finally had a taste of winter weather this week. It started out with a tiny bit of snow early Monday evening and then quickly turned to sleet & freezing rain. The result the next morning was a slick, frozen winter wonderland perfect for sledding.

Project 52 Photos: Week 7 Love

Last year was the first time Dylan had been sledding here in NC. We finally bought a sled and had a couple of snowfalls big enough for him to try it. This week he was so excited to get the sled out and give it a shot again.

Project 52 Photos: Week 7 Love

I loved watching him have fun and gaining confidence to do it on his own which is why I chose these photos to share for this week’s Project 52 theme of love.

Project 52 Photos: Week 7 Love

Join in the fun at any time. Next week’s challenge is Outtake. Find the full list on Sarah Halsteads’s blog here.

Project 52 Photos

I sat frozen. Unable to move and hardly able to even breathe. My heart raced as I tried to calm my mind.

Ninety minutes that seemed like an eternity slowly ticked past.

Hourglass by Nile

I know because I kept looking at the clock. Then the door.

The clock. Then the door.

This was exactly 4 months ago on October 18, 2014 in the wee hours of the morning. Elise was less than 24 hours old. We were still in the hospital. She had been sleeping peacefully for almost 4 hours and, while I was more relaxed being the second time around and do agree with the general “don’t wake a sleeping baby,” I started to wake her anyhow knowing the nurses would come around to check on us and see when she last nursed. I knew once home we could adjust to our own schedule. But in the confines of that room, you fall under the “rules” so better to wake the sleeping newborn and at least show you attempted to nurse them.

I had just gotten us settled into my hospital bed with pillows fluffed all around trying to get us as comfortable as possible when one of the techs came in to check us on. The quick check of were we okay, glance over the nursing/diapering log, and how was my pain level. Nothing fancy. The tech started making notes on her clipboard when she stopped and stared at the two of us for a split second.

The next few seconds flashed by my eyes as she commented something about Elise choking. Grabbing her from my arms. Flipping her onto her belly and patting her back. I remember her saying that Elise was turning colors and running out of the room with Elise in her arms while yelling for a second nurse to grab the infant cart and follow her.

My blood ran cold as fear ripped through me.

I can barely remember yelling at Trent who was just as exhausted and stunned as I was to chase after them and find out if our baby was okay.

I couldn’t move.

I was sore and in pain from delivery as well as literally frozen with fear.

I sat like that for 90 minutes. My mind running a thousand miles an hour thinking and yet not thinking. I was terrified and afraid of thinking the worst. Because I know.

I know it can happen.

Throughout my pregnancy a dark cloud was over every moment. It eased a bit in the end, but due to the miscarriages I suffered before this pregnancy, it never fully went away. I knew that just because we reached the finish line didn’t mean getting the prize.

I knew because my kids have a cousin that was due in August 2013, the same month I was due with my first miscarried baby, and that little girl arrived stillborn in July 2013.

I knew because one of my cousins was due with a son in October 2014. He arrived early and then was called home to Heaven a short time later.

I knew it didn’t have to be the same story for us. But it could. And that was my greatest fear in those long 90 minutes.

Even when Trent returned soon after Elise was taken away from us to tell me she was okay and was being kept in the nursery for a while for observation.

Even after one of the nurses came to tell me the same.

I sat frozen in that hospital bed for the full 90 minutes. Unable to hardly move beyond breathing until she was returned to our room. At which point I grabbed our little girl and embraced her tightly and held on for as long as possible.


Yesterday we celebrated 4 months. Four months of this beautiful girl in our lives and I feel so blessed. So if you catch me holding, hugging, snuggling and covering in kisses either one of my kids “too much” – there is no such thing. Grateful I am able to do just that. Life is a beautiful fragile thing and somehow I’ve been blessed with two beautiful children to love. I don’t take that lightly.

The makeover in the kitchen is slowly continuing. A few weeks ago I started tackling the cabinets. Overall, the cabinet boxes are in good shape. They just need a fresh coat of paint. The doors are okay as well, but are coming apart. Over time the laminate or thermofoil has begun to separate from the MDF. This started before we bought the house. I actually noticed during inspection that one of the doors below the kitchen sink had been “repaired” with white duct tape. Oh yeah. Classy. ;) Guessing that was a quick fix by one of the renters.

Kitchen Makeover: Painting Cabinets

Originally we considered replacing the doors and drawer fronts. That’s 18 doors and 9 drawer fronts not counting the island which we plan to completely replace at some point. Only a couple sizes repeat. I kept seeing dollar signs every time I thought about. Enter Pinterest because, of course, almost everything can be found there now and I saw posts where people had dared to peel off the thermofoil and paint the MDF. We decided to give it a try. Worse case scenario we were back to replacing the doors.

Trent had a week off in January while Dylan was in school. The weather was warm (60s) and perfect. With his help for watching Elise, I purchased the supplies to start the project and kept my focus small to be sure I could complete what I set out to do – just the base cabinets. Here’s what I learned that week …

  • Scrub down those old cabinets to remove all the dirt, oil, etc and prep the surface for painting.
  • Use a primer. I used 2 coats of Kilz (affiliate link) on everything. This was especially important on the cabinet doors as it did a good job of covering and sealing the MDF.

Kitchen Makeover: Cabinet Doors Primed

  • Be patient. All those coats take time to dry.
  • Use oil based paint so the cabinets can be easily cleaned later.
  • Pick a good weather day so you can open the windows and doors. Oil-based primer and paint? They stink frankly. As in smell. The Kilz had a pretty strong odor until it dried. Then we hardly smelled it at all. The paint had an odor a good while longer. We have an open floor plan on the first floor so the area had plenty of ventilation. I mainly noticed the odor when we were in the kitchen area – not so much in our living room directly across.

Kitchen Makeover: Painting Cabinets

  • Put on that thinking cap! This one is props to my husband all the way. Remember that door with the duct tape? When I peeled it off, I found the tape was doing more than holding the thermofoil on – it was also covering up water damage. I originally started to sand and paint. Then Trent had a clever idea. He measured the doors on the island and (hurray!) discovered they were the exact same size. Instant fix as we plan to eventually replace the island. We pulled one of the good doors off it to use for under the sink.

Kitchen Makeover: Damaged Cabinet Door

  • Advice I saw repeatedly was to roll or spray the paint. I used a combination of brush and roller. I brushed on all the primer. Then brushed on the paint and quickly followed behind with the roller to smooth it a bit. In the end, yes, we do have some light streaks, but we like this as, in our opinion, it gives them a more “real” look versus looking like MDF.
  • This post from This Old House was the best reference with step-by-step instructions and photos detailing painting cabinets.

After almost a month of having the base cabinets painted I can say that so far I am thrilled with the results. They look so much better. Just walk into the room and you can see at a glance how yellow the old ones look by comparison. The painted cabinets look fresh & new even though they are over 16 years old.

Kitchen Makeover: Painted Cabinets & New Drawer Pulls

The doors are holding up great. I’ve already had a couple of spills on the ones below the sink and they have easily wiped clean. I’m sure someday we will replace them. I’d like a different style, but for now they function and look much better than they did when the thermofoil faces were peeling off.

I also took advantage of having the drawer faces removed to fill the holes from the old knobs and replace with new pulls.

I can’t wait until we have time, and good enough weather, to do the upper cabinets and desk. In the meantime I’m picking a paint color for the walls and pricing the backsplash.

See more of our kitchen makeover experience: Kitchen: BeforeNew Granite Counters | Appliances | Kitchen Organization

Last weekend we took the kids to the circus. It was a first for both and they both enjoyed it. Dylan was on the edge of his seat the entire time. Elise was straining to see from my lap – I think the lights & sounds captivated her.

I was enjoying seeing their reactions to the fun and capturing bits of it in photos. I thought it might be the perfect opportunity to get a photo for this week’s challenge of unbalanced. Of course, juggling a 3 month old in my arms plus not being allowed to use my DSLR (silly rules) made it more challenging than I expected. As I thumbed back through photos I took on my point & shoot during the show, I stumbled across this one:

Project 52 Photos: Week 6 Unbalanced

The shot itself is fairly balanced. Not perfectly centered, but close and pretty good considering I had one hand on the camera and one on the baby.

Under closer examination there is a clown in purple standing on the ring section closest to us who is, in fact, a bit unbalanced based on his stance and outstretched arms. Also, it appears his friend to the right there is checking to make sure he doesn’t fall off the ring.

Project 52 Photos: Week 6 Unbalanced

I’m not sure if he maintained his balance or fell. I didn’t actually notice him until looking at these photos closely yesterday afternoon and the next photo I took is further down the floor – no view of this clown. Maybe he stayed up. Maybe he didn’t. Either way I thought it made for an interesting take on the theme.

Join in the fun at any time. Next week’s challenge is Love. Find the full list on Sarah Halstead’s blog here.

Project 52 Photos

North Carolina weather is a funny thing this time of the year. Sometimes (as in the beginning of this week) there is a surprisingly warm 70 degree day and you find yourself wearing short sleeves in winter. And sometimes we get days like this one at the end of January last year where we had enough snow for Dylan to experience sledding for the first time.

Sledding: January 2014

It had been a couple of years since there was a snowfall big enough for sledding to even be possible. Amazingly, Trent decided on a whim to buy a sled for Dylan right before Christmas. Perfect timing as he got to use it on two separate occasions. Fingers crossed that we get one good day this year.

Supplies: February 2015 template from Pixels & Co; Christmas Magic & Sunny Days kits by Karen Funk; Playful kit by Mommyish; This is Now kit by Sarah Sullivan; Baby Dinos kit by Tiffany Tillman; Peachy Keen mini kit by Dawn by Design; Dude kit by Robyn Meierotto; More or Less and In Good Company collaborative kits.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, a few of my favorite bloggers and I have joined together for a Share the Love giveaway! One lucky reader will win $75 for themselves and $75 for someone they love for a total prize worth $150.

Share the Love Giveaway

Share the Love Giveaway

Prize: $75 PayPal cash for you and $75 PayPal cash for someone you love

Co-hosts: Sarah Halstead, Crosbie Crew, A Grande Life, Our Holly Days, Behind the Camera & Dreaming, Alyson M, Little Us, Just Julie Ann, Fresh Mommy Blog, Kendall Rayburn, A Sorta Fairytale, 2paws Designs, Simple Stavish, and Faithfully Free.

Rules: Use the form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 2/14 and is open worldwide. Winner will be notified via email.

Share the Love Giveaway $75 for you & $75 for a friend

This week’s Project 52 challenge was Morning. I snapped this quick photo on Monday morning while drinking a hot cup of Teavana blueberry bliss / strawberry lemonade tea blend and ordering my groceries online.

Project 52 Photos: Week 5 Morning

I had meant to take a more “typical” morning photo, but in a way this probably better sums up my mornings better as, beyond a few basics (weekday wake up time, breakfast together as a family, sending the boys out the door to the bus stop & then work), my mornings all have a slightly different feel to them.

What does your morning look like?

Join in the fun at any time. Next week’s challenge is Unbalanced. Find the full list on Sarah Halsteads’s blog here.

Project 52 Photos