Wednesday, August 31, 2011

the four of us :: august 2011

* one family photo * MY family * each month * for an entire year *

We had fun with it this month, thanks to my husband [again] for the brilliant idea of a floor shot.

make a gif online

I kept screwing up the shot by zooming in too much, then yapping too much, then moving around too much. The kids begged me to keep the "outtakes" they thought them so funny :)

We spent the first part of the month in St. Cloud, attended a special birthday party for my sweet niece, finished up both band lessons and the soccer season, went for a cruise on a Padelford Riverboat with Tony's family, spent some time at Fort Snelling, celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary, the teen had his first-ever ride on the motorcycle, went school shopping with the boys, Tony and I had several fun dates (St. Anthony Main, Minnehaha Falls, and Gold Rush Days), and New Creations was back - this time taking care of our attic (a condensation issue) and soggy yard (in preparation for a deck next year).

It was a super summer that went waaaaay tooooo fast.

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strike a pose

We were getting the kids ready for bed last night on the heels of me expressing MY EXTREME DISLIKE of the look being sported by a certain musican.



When I walked into my teen's room to find my husband sporting a similar look. Needless to say, all sorts of silliness ensued...

My creation

Makes me laugh all over again :o

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Monthly Faithbooking Crop :: September 2011


Join us at Hosanna! on Saturday, September 10 from 9:00 am-3:00 pm for a fun and productive day of scrapbooking (or whatever sort of crafting floats your boat). As aways, the crops are FREE and include:

•snacks and beverages
•hourly prize drawings
•monthly journaling lesson
•hours to work on your projects

Just click HERE and follow the instructions to reserve your spot! The rest of the year has been mapped out as well, future dates follow:

October 8, 2011
November 12, 2011
December 10, 2011
January 14, 2012
February 11, 2012
March 10, 2012
April 14, 2012
May 12, 2012
June 9. 2012
July 14, 2012
August 11, 2012

Hope to see you there!

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Friday, August 26, 2011

5 Fun Things Friday

five fun things

1. Remember when I was raving about THIS grown-up milkshake? Here's a summer version...

Key Lime Pie. The recipe is below:
1 cup vanilla ice cream
2 oz. gin
1 1/4 oz. fresh lime juice
2 oz. graham cracker crumbs

Tools: blender
Glass: milkshake or 16 oz. pint

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
You'll find a non-alcoholic version HERE.

2. This new 8x8 Creative Memories coverset would be PERFECT for a faithbooking album:

8x8faith album

I believe it will be available for ordering on September 1, 2011.

Source: via Tina_Vega on Pinterest

4. Women of Faith, October 21-22, 2011 (Target Center).


For those of who follow Angie Smith's blog (click HERE), she is one of the speakers this year! Click HERE for ticket information.

5. Nice Ride Minnesota.


Tony and I saw a ton of these bikes in the St. Anthony Main area. Click HERE to see how it works. You will find all sorts of "tours" on the site as well... such as the Graffiti Tour, the Bike Bridges Tour, and the Mmmmm, Beer Tour. [You'll find the rest of the tours by clicking HERE.]

Happy Friday!!

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

August 2011 Faithbooking Lesson

With my limited blogging/computer knowledge, I've struggled with the best way to share the monthly faithbooking lessons. The old way... well, just seems so OLD! Once I have a few more under my belt, I'll bind them together somehow and make them available to anyone interested. For now, I'll just share them fully in a regular blog post with tips at the end for incorporating the ideas into your own album. If you have any questions or technical tips to offer, send them my way by email to acvega at frontiernet dot net.

* * * *

Gain a new perspective.
Faithbooking Devotion #39 ~ Stones of Remembrance
Creating Rock-Solid Reminders of God’s Presence
© 2011 Tina Vega

Although we may not have control over our circumstances, we do have a say in the way we choose to view those circumstances. Our perspective can dramatically affect the way we endure life’s past, present, and future difficulties. In fact, adopting a healthy perspective can prove to be LIFE CHANGING by allowing us to reframe challenging situations in a whole new way.

The angle at which we approach life – our perspective of God at work in our lives – can sometimes be skewed. We often have a tendency to look at things one way, limiting ourselves and thoughts to only one possibility. Here are some things I try to keep in mind when life simply does not make sense:

1. Who is God? What do I know about His character? What does the bible say about His character? What have my experiences taught me about the Lord?
2. He is in charge. He is in charge. He is in charge. He is in charge. He is in charge.
3. With all of this in mind… knowing He is FOR ME – good, kind, loving, fair, just, all-powerful, all-knowing, honorable, righteous, faithful, LOVE => What other perspective could I take regarding my situation? What other approach could I use to look at the situation?

When my hopes and dreams were crushed by circumstances, I chose to view God biblically. Despite my feelings, I chose to believe He was FOR ME when it seemed the world was against me. Perhaps the season of loss was preparing me for bigger things ahead, by drawing me to very near to Him. Perhaps it led me to appreciate the everyday, seemingly boring things of life. He made the unnoticeable, very noticeable. Perhaps He allowed the experience to show me the true meaning of peace. Whatever the reason, I have chosen to trust His decision and get on with the business of living.

♥ Take a moment to think about a situation you are currently facing. Think specifically about the perspective you have been taking, whether negative or positive. Try to look at the situation from a new approach: What good thing(s) could possibly come out of this spot?
♥ Take a look at a photograph and journal about it from a new perspective. For example, instead of journaling about what you SEE try journaling instead about the FEELINGS or THOUGHTS the image elicits.
♥ Back it up even further and try photographing your subject from a new perspective by zooming in on otherwise missed details.

Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away. My life is no longer than the width of my hand. And entire lifetime is just a moment to you; human existence is but a breath.
– Psalm 39:4-5

* * * *

Ideas and tips:

1. Create a page spread about one day in your life. Document the day with photographs - challenge yourself to snap at least 50 images throughout the day. Focus on details you might otherwise miss: photograph a clock at significant times during the day (i.e. morning, lunchtime, middle of the night feedings, etc.), pay attention to facial expressions (good and bad), look for things that make you smile (a cup of coffee in the morning, reminders of your children, colors, the sunshine). Let the images tell the story of one day in your life.
2. Take it a step further and photograph things that irk you - pet peeves & other assorted irritations. Include journaling that explores the way you feel. Perhaps there is a story behind why something jabs you the way that it does. Try to look at the irritation from another perspective, perhaps even seeing something "good" within it. For example, we live in the dustiest house I know - it's been like that ever since we moved in eight years ago. While the dust certainly increased during the time of our basement remodel, my children's response to it remained the same:


They have a habit of turning the dirt in our home and vehicles into works of art. And that ALWAYS makes me smile.

3. Go even deeper by creating a scrapbook page regarding difficult circumstances (past or present). [Working through challenges and difficulties by way of our albums can offer encouragement and wisdom to others long after we are gone.] If it is a private situation, tuck the journaling into a pocket or envelope marked as such - this allows for freedom of expression while maintaining boundaries (some things I share are for the future or for family alone). Try to reframe the situation by using God's word as a filter for your experience. For example, while working through the grief of pregnancy loss I came across several verses that were particularly meaningful for me. I began looking at my situation in a whole new light, finding beauty and hope in the midst of one the most trying times in my life.

I love the verse at the end of the lesson, Psalm 39:4-5:

Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away. My life is no longer than the width of my hand. And entire lifetime is just a moment to you; human existence is but a breath.

How much more differently would we live our lives if we took these words to heart?

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

old normal vs. brand new normal


While I never mentioned it here, my husband and I referred to 2010 as "The Year of the Suck" - four very large lifequakes hit around the same time and my world flipped upside down for a while. A very loooooong while. I turned to my closest friends for prayer and support during that time and cut out every extra thing to focus on what mattered most - my marriage and family. With my history of addiction, I knew how important it was to make sure I was dealing with life and feelings - working through the pain instead of trying to bury it with busy-ness or food or alcohol or shopping or the Internet. Survival mode is what I called it.

Coming off "The Year of the Suck" left me feeling broken. A little lost. The jolt of the storms had bumped me off track and I've spent the better part of 2011 trying to hop back on the same track... to no avail. It finally dawned on me that God was up to something NEW. Having focused on simply surviving for so long, I'd stopped asking God for direction on where to go next. (No wonder I've felt a little lost.)

The fog has lifted and I am praying for clarity in this new place. Looking to please God above all else and open to the adventure that surely awaits.

God quieted the storm to a whisper;
the sea’s waves were hushed.
So they rejoiced because the waves
had calmed down;
then God led them to the harbor
they were hoping for.

Psalm 107:29-30 (CEB)

If you find yourself in a similar place, perhaps you will find these resources to be helpful:

1. Life Quakes, Part 1 (Beth Moore) - click HERE for video.

2. Praying and Believing God, Part 1 (Beth Moore) - click HERE for video.

3. Praying and Believing God, Part 2 (Beth Moore) - click HERE for video.

4. Putting Plan B Into Action (Pete Wilson) - click HERE for DVD-based bible study and HERE for participant's guide.

5. One in a Million: Journey to Your Promised Land (Priscilla Shirer) - click HERE for book.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

5 Fun Things Friday

five fun things

1. FlipClips. These are custom flip books made with your video clips!



2. Cocoa & Fig. A Minnesota-based company - in addition to catering events, they offer all sorts of goodies in the way of treats. Their blog is filled with all sorts of wedding inspiration (click HERE).


Check out their retail shop HERE.

3. The new Courageous movie by the same guys who made Fireproof & Facing the Giants.

Sure to be another inspiring flick, in theaters September 30, 2011.

4. RedStamp. Another Minnesota-based business. I especially love these ADORABLE notecards made with your child's artwork.


Or their signature. SOOOOO CUTE!


5. While I don't own an iPad, if I did I would surely cover it with one of these ADORABLE cases.


This one above, from Bayou Salvage. And the one below, from Bertie's Closet:

bertie's closet

Happy Friday!!!

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

the most romantic date EVER | Minnesota Lifestyle Photographer

Remember this game?

I was contacted by a husband knee deep in his own Mystery Date plans. He was planning a romantic evening that he was sure his wife would want photographed. His wife (a long time scrapbooking friend) wasn't to know a stitch about it. So I had to keep my mouth (and Tweets) quiet for A WHOLE MONTH!!!

Here's [roughly] how it went down:

1. Prince Charming told his wife to pack an overnight bag for the child who would be heading over to Gramma's house by 3:00 pm.

2. At that point, he gave his wife a second set of instructions telling her they'd be leaving for their date at 5:00 pm. He told her to wear jeans, a nice t-shirt, and shoes she could do a bit of walking in. He told her that one of the places they'd be going to was kind of fancy.

3. Prince Charming drove his wife to the St. Paul Hotel. He walked her to an elevator, handed her a card key, and told her to go to a room. In the room was a beautiful gown with instructions to be dressed and in the lobby by 6:45 pm. (Her BFF was also there to help with the gown.)

This is when I arrived on the scene. I'll let the rest of the story unfold through the following images.

glass slipper collage

mono kiss collage

the proposal


wedding collage

the kiss

waiting carriage


watermark hotel collage



As you can see, an evening she will never forget :)

hold tight

Once in a while, right in the middle of ordinary life, love gives us a fairytale.
- Unknown

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

SMASHbook = smashing success

I knew heading into this summer, I'd need something SIMPLE to document our days. Some huge changes had taken place with my niece and nephew early this summer - I've been dealing with concerns I have for their welfare and missing their sweet presence in everyday life. With legal proceedings ahead, sharing my feelings publicly was not an option.


I needed a place to journal... wanted a place to place these "moments" without fretting about superficial things such as coordinating papers and perfect layouts.


In addition to the munchkin stuff, we are still working through the loss of Tony's dad and buried him this summer as well. Big life stuff.


And in between all of the big stuff, we've been hanging out with friends and family. Trying to savor those moments, despite the heavy stuff on the sidelines. The SMASHbook has been perfect.


Most of my personal images were captured by phone and printed through (I uploaded to the site regularly and placed several smaller orders this summer instead of trying to do it all as one HUGE order). It is NOT in chronological order, which was freeing in and of itself, and the entire project was maybe a 3-hour time investment.


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Friday, August 12, 2011

5 Fun Things Friday

five fun things

1. Totally saving up for one of these:


I've always wanted a patchwork quilt but they are so darn expensive.

Jackson's Gelato

I've had gelato on the brain [and in my mouth] lately.

3. Simple scrapbooking. Like this:

And this:

And of course, this [featured already in a previous 5 Fun Things post]:

My philosophy this summer: just get it done.

4. Fall in Minnesota. Looking for some fun things to do? Here are a few ideas:


Happy Friday!!!

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

bits of summer


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