Friday Freebie: Bits & Pieces template

The last Friday of the month means it's freebie time! This month I'm sharing the template I created for the Music Class layout I shared a couple weeks ago. The template is 12x12 and features 9 layers including a second shadow option for the right hand photo to give it a slightly curled feel. It's free for personal use only.

Click here to download the Bits & Pieces 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!


Toddler Sleep Training Clock

We've been blessed that Dylan has been a good sleeper since his early days of life. Before his birth, we'd heard the stories of babies that have their days and nights mixed up. I had hopes he already "knew" the difference since he was always more active in utero during the day. He barely stirred overnight unless I did and then it seemed like he was just resettling as I was. I did slightly worry after he was born in the evening - thinking he might believe it was morning (yes, totally irrational, but isn't that the norm for a new, sleep deprived mom?). Instead, he slept longer stretches at night from the very beginning.

Then a few months ago, he suddenly shifted his morning wake up to an hour earlier. Now, admittedly, changing from 7:30am to 6:30am might not sound so bad. With me staying at home, we have the luxury, if you will, to delay the start to our day. I didn't mind him up a bit earlier but I did mind it affected his mood. My sweet boy was a bit on the grumpy side due to lack of sleep. A couple of my friends had had good luck using sleep training clocks with their toddlers who are close in age to Dylan. This change in schedule pushed me to start looking into them.

Searching online, I quickly found they all seem to be in a price range of about $30-40. I was initially interested in the Baby Zoo monkey kids alarm clock - a perfect fit for Dylan's zoo themed room. The monkey closes his eyes during sleep time and opens them when it's time to get up. It also features an analog clock which I thought would be beneficial in helping him learn to tell time.

I ended up with the KID'sleep clock though as I found it at a consignment sale for $8. I couldn't resist that price and snatched it up. Dylan was quite excited when I showed him his new "clock" and set it up on the shelf over his dresser. The front has interchangeable face plates. One is a single scene for using the clock as a nightlight for younger toddlers/infants. The second plate, which we use, has a split image with an awake bunny at the top and sleeping bunny on the bottom. I set the alarm to 7:00am which triggers the awake bunny to light up then and alert Dylan that it is okay for him to come out of his room. There is an audible alarm option, but we haven't used it yet. Since our schedule is flexible, I prefer the quiet flip of the light only. Occasionally, he will oversleep the bunny waking! Most days though, we will hear him awake & playing in his room followed by joyful cries, "bunny up! Bunny up!" at 7:00am.

One of our final night time remarks each night is "see you when the bunny wakes!" whether I'm tucking him in or saying goodbye before heading out to work. Either way, he knows when the bunny wakes in the morning, the day is ready to begin and he'll find Mama & Dada there.

Note: the particular version of the KID'sleep clock we have has only one alarm setting. During naptime, I do flip the bunny to sleep but he doesn't wake up. Per online searches, it does appear there is a version that has two alarms. We've managed fine with one but if you feel the need for two, do some careful searching and product label reading.


[almost] Wordless Wednesday: 12 years

Our tortoiseshell, Cali, celebrated her 12th birthday this past Saturday.

Wordless Wednesday


Azalea Gardens

Dylan & I met Allison & Curtis at the WRAL Azalea Gardens in Raleigh one morning last year. The boys loved running around the paths and exploring every inch of it.

Supplies: Blueprint #12 template by Gennifer Bursett; Weathered Elements by Celeste Knight; Bicycle Freebie by Sara Schmutz; Today brushes by Karla Dudley; DHD National Scrapbooking Day 2011 collab kit; In This Life kit by Karen Funk; Just the Way You Are font.


Tour de Fat - Durham 2012

After seeing Tour de Fat listed as a "family pick" in Friday's N&O, we set out to downtown Durham on Saturday morning to take it in. We arrived just as the last few members of the bike parade left the area which worked out fine. We located a parking spot on the opposite side of American Tobacco, strolled a bit of it and checked out some of the Tour de Fat fun around Diamond View Park while waiting for the parade to return. And, when it did, we had a prime view. Dylan especially enjoyed watching all the bikes and riders in costumes.

The entire event is a very cool, free fundraiser for local nonprofits that travels around the country - live music, beer & local food (ok, small cost there of course), shows, games, and contests. Here's a glimpse from shots I took with my iPhone (I was feeling too lazy to tote my dslr *gasp*):

Tour de Fat Durham

During our visit, a cameraman from NBC17 shot a bit of footage of Dylan hitting a reused metal container bell with a mallet and me hitting some similarly made drums (see bottom left photo in collage above). I didn't make the final cut, but Dylan did:


Albeit hard to tell unless you knew! Find the video here (he's at seconds 29-30). As soon as he noticed the cameraman, he bolted. :)

This was Tour de Fat's second year stopping in Durham. We'll definitely be marking our calendars if it returns again next year. Lots of fun.


Mother's Day 2011

I made a very quick layout for last year's Mother's Day. None of the photos were especially great. Trying to get Dylan to cooperate for a picture took a lot of work and, when he finally agreed, he wanted us sitting on the ottoman in front of the TV (I can't tell you how happy I was to get photos at the arboretum this year - so much better!).

Knowing that I only wanted the one photo and to crop it considerably, I looked to my folder of Quick Page templates. I literally just edited the photo using the Vintage action from the CoffeeShop blog to soften the colors, stuck it behind the quick page and added "Mother's Day 2011" to the frame. That's it. Done.

Supplies: iNSD Quick Page by Tiffany Bodily; Script MT Bold font; Vintage action from The CoffeeShop Blog.


family - fall 2010

Making further progress on Dylan's Year Two album, these photos were from a family get together in November 2010:

Supplies: d-365 Layered Layouts vol 3 by Deena Rutter; Be Unique elements and Giggles & Grins papers by Karen Funk; Picket Fences kit by Jen Allyson; Meadow papers by Celeste Knight; Just the Way You Are font.


Wordless Wednesday: Solo Pedaling

Wordless Wednesday



Dylan loves to stop at the kids magazine area each time we visit the library. He always searches out the same Zoobooks issue on snakes and flips through it looking for all the snake photos. This particular visit, I was amused at the way he sprawled out on the bench to "read."

For this week's 4 Play at Design House Digital.

Supplies: School is In Session paper by Sara Schmutz; Whiteout paper by Audrey Neal; In Love brushes by Agnes Biro; Weathered Elements by Celeste Knight; Another Typewriter font.


Father's Day Superhero

My inspiration for Father's Day this year came from all the superhero elements I had seen (scrapbooking kits, movies, pillowcases, etc). I had the general idea of getting a photo of Dylan in his Superman shirt with "Dada, you're my superhero!" It took a little coaxing to get my now opinionated child to participate. He likes to pick his own shirt and I had to work hard to convince him to wear the Superman one for at least a few minutes. He also likes to choose at times when and where he wants his photo taken. Naturally, my suggestions originally were ignored. I snapped shots regardless hoping to get something and I did by patiently following his lead.

Father's Day Superhero

When he finally moved in front of my herb garden (better background and no direct sun) plus blew a kiss and made the best smile - I managed to get not just the one photo I had hope for, but three! I edited each using Ashley's Nice & Easy and Momaziggy's Gold Glory actions, cropped and outlined to mimic a comic strip. Then added the text in Marker font below (I see now I made a typo in adding a space between super & hero - oops!) and had it printed at 8x10 for Dylan to give to his father along with a card he made.

After breakfast and gifts, the three of us went to Bond Park to spend some time together. We had fun strolling the paths, watching the boats and playing at the playground. I haven't even had the chance to look at the photos I took on my DSLR, but this shot taken with my iPhone and edited with Instagram is a favorite:

Like father, like son. :)


Father's Day 2011

Loved these photos from last Father's Day of Trent & Dylan looking at the book I made with photos of the two of them. :)

Kate's The Rag Coat layout shared at Design House Digital was the perfect inspiration for helping me get them scrapped.

Supplies: Back to Basics white frames by Sara Schmutz; Rocketman kit by Deena Rutter; Decorative Stitches set 1 by Agnes Biro; Daditude and Craft Jar kits by Miss Mint; In This Life kit by Karen Funk; Teletype font.


Wordless Wednesday: Color

Wordless Wednesday


"Dad" card

Last year I made hybrid cards for our fathers for Father's Day:

I started with a simple 5.5" x 8" rectangle and added a 5" x 7.5" mask in the center. This allowed me to easily layer two papers to create the background. I printed these onto white cardstock, cut to size and scored it at the 4" line to create the fold.

Next, I opened a pennant flag element from the Give Thanks kit and added "DAD" using brushes. I printed these onto white cardstock as well, cut out and then adhered to the cards with adhesive backed foam to give the design a bit of dimension.

Simple as that and they each had a beautiful handmade card.

Are you making cards this year? I'd love to see. Share a link to the post or image in the comments section. :)

Supplies: Give Thanks & Happy Camper kits by Sara Schmutz; Digi Essentials 8 by Karla Dudley; white cardstock; adhesive backed foam.


Music Class

Another page for Dylan's Year Two album - with friends at a music class last summer:

Inspired by the June Scraplift Challenge at Design House Digital.

Supplies: Be Unique papers by Karen Funk; Digi Essentials by Karla Dudley; DHD's iNSD 2011 blog hop collaboration kit; Just the Basics - Paint Splatters Set 1 by Erica Coombs; Another Typewriter font.



That simple word is a big one. And definitely part of the new motto around our home.

Last month, our lives changed a bit when I accepted a part time job in retail working nights and weekends. I'm typically on the closing shift 4 days per week. The exact days change each week. It's meant the boys have dinner & bedtime without me those nights. Which, being totally honest, makes me a bit sad at times but I'm also grateful they get one-on-one time regularly now.

In an effort to keep us organized and make sure they easily have good meals, I resigned us up for eMeals meal planning. I also might have literally jumped for joy when I saw Harris Teeter reduced their Express Lane shopping orders to $1.95 for the summer again. I used them a LOT last summer when watching our niece (so worth it to pay $1.95 versus wrangling 2 toddlers in a car cart in the grocery store) and have already used it once since the fee dropped (again, worth $1.95 versus spending my free time walking the aisles of yet another store).

Another organizing technique we've added is using shared calendars on our phones. Thank you, Apple iCloud, for making that easy. Trent & I now have a shared "home" calendar we can each access easily to keep track of events we both need to be aware of (such as birthday parties he needs to take Dylan to when I'm working). I created a second shared calendar appropriately titled "work" where I note my hours. This one I also shared with my parents so they know my new schedule.

It's been an interesting change. Certainly not where I pictured myself when I started applying for full time positions last fall. But for the moment, I'm enjoying our new life. I'm very blessed to still get to spend my days at home with Dylan and on the nights I do work, I know he's in the best possible care. I think it's even helped the two of them to get a bit closer. They now get dedicated time each week to special adventures for just the two of them. That makes my heart happy.


Exploring Together

Last summer, Dylan, his cousin & I met friends at Lake Lynn Park in north Raleigh. I'd heard of it before, but this was our first visit. We had a great time playing at the playground before following the trail to the lake. There we were surprised to find a deer coming right up to one of the decked walkways to peer at the people.

Supplies: 52 Thursday Templates Template No 11 by Tiffany Tillman; Woodsong papers by Deena Rutter; Oceanside and Fun & Festive papers by Robyn Meierotto; The Sweet Life papers by Karen Funk; Sunshine papers by Celeste Knight; Scooby Doo font (title).


[almost] Wordless Wednesday: RailHawks Soccer

Taken Saturday night at Dylan's 3rd game in recent weeks - he has really gotten into them! He & Trent even cheered the RailHawks on to their victory against the LA Galaxy last week.

Wordless Wednesday


Zoo Day

Yesterday was Trent's birthday and he took the day off work so the three of us could spend it at the NC Zoo. We were also celebrating Dylan's successes in being *almost* completely potty trained since I made the decision to start "hard core" training him last Wednesday (it's been off and on for over a year - time to get it done!). Anyhow, it was a beautiful, warm, sunny day and there weren't a lot of people which made for a fantastic visit. Here's a small glimpse:

Giraffes - simply love watching them. So elegant.
How many teeth do you have?
Digging for fossils in the Dinosaur exhibit.
Flying a bee requires "steering"

We visited the Watani Grasslands last to see the elephants. Turned out to be perfect timing - the three females were all close to the path and no other visitors were around. I took quite a few photos and even a short video on my phone:

Snacking. Same elephant on right in video above.