Everyone has a story to tell, here's mine sprinkled with some creative projects along the way.
Thank you for stopping by and I hope you come back again.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Random four- September edition

Ok so I know that the "Random four" posts went into hiatus for a while there and I was not planning on doing it again because I felt that I've failed on it miserably over the past three months that there's really no point in continuing it. But...I was looking at some older posts last week (pulling pages for publication) and came across some of my previous random four posts and after reading it, I was instantly taken back to that month. Guilt was not at all what I thought I would feel, instead I felt grateful to my "old" self that I took the time to document those random things about my family. So with that being said, I'm shrugging the embarrassment away of not being consistent with this and starting anew. And so I present to you our random fours for the month of September......


1. (he's not going to like me announcing this to the world) He has now started to use reading glasses. He has not officially been to an eye doctor. All he has is one of those reading glasses that you can pick up at the drug store but he feels better reading with it than without it. The strain that he felt before has gone away. He's not happy to loose his 20/20 vision but I still think he's hot even WITH the glasses. *smile*
2. He's been working really hard at his new job which is a Cell site cabinet technician. Totally different field that what he's used and we could not be more proud of him.
3. He bought himself a new (humongous-gas guzzler) truck. It's mainly for his job but in this past month, he has bought so many things for it that it sounds like he has "pimped" his ride.
4. He's been so good at talking on the phone with his wife every night. Something that he's wife was very worried about in the beginning. This guy never really talks to you on the phone unless he needs to tell you something. He doesn't believe in phone chatting and we are happy that he's made us feel less worried because we talk to him on the phone every night.


1. Trying to be a balanced mom. Not too lenient but not always barking at her kids. There's no parental back up so sometimes it's hard not to be seen as the bad guy by the kids.
2. Took up knitting. One of the many things she's venturing to keep herself occupied and less stressed.
3. Got her eyebrows threaded for the very first time today. Gosh it hurt! But she knows that certain beauty can only be achieved with some pain. *LOL*
4. Spruced up the blog, made about 10 layouts, 20 cards, 3 altered projects and 1 mini album this month. It was definitely a creative month!


1. Got bored one day and with the help of mom took up knitting. It's been good for him so he can have something to keep himself busy (he's one of those busy bodied kids) but remaining in one place at a good amount of time.
2. Started 2nd grade this month and he's been good so far. He hates homework (what's new) but he has grown up with his conversations. He loved to talk to mom about his day, even if most of the time Mom can't keep up with the names and the events. He talks to fast too BTW.
3. Did his part at the Primary sacrament program last Sunday and he did well. He said his lines with clarity and diction. We are making progress with the not "being super shy" in front of people part. Woohoo!
4. He's getting good at reading on his own plus he (with the help of the 2nd grade teacher) has learned a new sense of accountability and responsibility. There are times (though far in between) that he would take the initiative to tell mom he needs to do his homework or he needs to read. We are so proud of him.


1. She's a full pledges Kindergartner this month. We believe over all that she likes it. Sometimes (especially during the mornings when Mom has to literally drag her from the bed) she'd say she hates school and kindergarten but when you pick her up from school she's always beaming with joy and proceeds to tell you that she's made some new friends that day. :)
2. Have become a very good artist. She likes to color lately and has taken her sweet time in making it pretty, colorful and she stays in the line for the most part. Very good improvement.
3. Learning a lot of things at school. Lately she's been discovering the more advance shapes like rhombus, pyramid and cylinder. She's gotten good at writing her name, making her abc sounds and even learning her days of the week.
4. Have been obsessed with going to the mall after school. You see, for the whole month of September, Kindergartners have been coming out one hour before the older grades get out so for that whole hour, instead of waiting in our car, she begs for mom to take her to the nearby mall.

So that's it. Thanks for remembering September with us.

Till next time,

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It has come to this + layouts...

First off, please understand that I'm living as a single parent right now and is out of my wits sometimes when it comes to pushing my kids to do things I want them to do. Hence my story, so please no haters, just sympathizers.

So tonight for dinner, I baked some breaded chicken breast and made macaroni and cheese with some peas in it. I do this so we can add veggies in our meals without too much hassle. And it was no surprise when both kids frowned at the meal "lovingly" prepared for them and flat out told me that they don't want to eat their peas.

(stock photo)

And because I didn't have the ounce of energy to fight with them, I tried to be creative. As creative as I can be! I told them that for every pea that they eat, they get a penny.

(stock photo)

Maddie was up for the challenge, downing 21 peas and all of her mac and cheese without anymore arguments. She's my smart one *wink*

and of course Marcus grumbled and ate everything in his plate before submitting to the challenge. Because I knew he wasn't going to eat much of it from the very beginning, I only gave him a small serving of the mac and cheese and peas combo. Therefore he only ate 12 peas.

After both of them were done, Maddie upped the ante and asked for four more making her grand total to 25 cents! She was so happy because she knows that her quarter can get her a nice, juicy gum ball at the store. I'm telling you she's the smart one.

Well Marcus is smart too but he has become my rebel. Lately he always wants to do the opposite of what I say. And when you ask him why, he doesn't really know. He just does it just to get to me. Oh kids!

So there you have it. This mom accomplished her goal of getting her kids to eat their veggies, even if it cost me 37 cents!

Oh and to wrap up this funny story, why not share two Fall themed pages....

Picking the perfect one

I used only 4x6 pictures for this double page layout. I love how fast I can finish pages just by using one sized photos.

the stitching on top of the letter stickers were both for design and gluing purposes. The stickers weren't adhering enough to the page so I resolved to sew them down.

this scallop corner started by me snipping a piece from the scallop bordered punch I used on the bottom of the page.

Carving them to life

so after picking our pumpkins, we brought them home and made them into jack-o-lanterns. Fun stuff, as always.

I like transferring my letter rubons onto paper first before adhering them to the page. It gives me freedom of placement plus if transferred on coordinating cardstock, it makes the letters pop out more against the background.

So that's it. Till next time,

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Halloween on my mind

I ask you...why do retailers, every year, keep pushing the holidays earlier and earlier? I mean, I'm just barely getting the rhythm of school and then I go to Walmart (with my kids of all things) and their seasonal aisles are brimming with Halloween decorations, candies and costumes. Seriously?!

I guess granted we only have one week left of September, but still could it be any earlier?! (I just pulled a Chandler line there. hehehehehe) (inside joke for my "Friends" buddies out there)

Ok so if Halloween is what everyone should be thinking by now then I must follow the trend. Speaking of Halloween, how about a layout ABOUT Halloween.....

2009 Halloween Costumes

This is what the family looked like last year for Halloween. Marcus was a power ranger (again), Maddie was Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz (I wanted her to hold little "Toto" but she refused to) and yes that's my dear husband who was also known (that night) as my "hillbilly cousin from Arkansas". Believe me I did not have any intention of naming him that but for some reason he was dubbed that at the church party.

Anyways onto the page....I ran this purple circle die cut through the Cuttlebug to create the embossed look.

and I created a visual triangle between the positioning of my purple elements. Oh BTW the products used in this page are from Piggy Tales except the title stickers and buttons.

That was a fun night to remember and I'm glad it's now safely preserved in this page.

Thank you for stopping by and till next time,

Friday, September 24, 2010

Knitting: no longer a mystery

Yes, finally I have been able to overcome my fear of the two big needles and have jumped into knitting. A great friend got me started on it on Sunday. She even provided me with the needles and yarn to start with. (Yep I'm counting her as one of my many blessings right now)

So because I was so excited about this new "crafty" adventure, I didn't stop knitting until I finished the yarn she gave me which only took till the next day. And here's what I came up with...

I had to add Ms. Princess, Maddie's Build-a-bear in the photo shoot so you can have a view of how big/small my new creation is.

Since this is my first every knitting venture, it's really simple. I just did the regular knitting stitch. I'll try the purling and all those other fancy stitches when I've mastered this.

Things I love about knitting..
1. It's seems to be a faster process than crocheting. I think it's because of the size of my needle and yarn.
2. It's easy once you get a good footing/foundation on what you are doing. I even know how to cast on now. Woohoo!
3. There's so many things you can make with it. I'm already starting a new project which is a scarf for Maddie. Then next on the list will be a scarf for Marcus and then "hopefully" a decent sweater or vest for me. I got this nice charcoal gray yarn the other day and I'm really excited to turn that into a vest or a sweater.

So that's it. Trying out new things really do get your creative juices flowing.

Till next time,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

it's a Tuesday

and I thought I needed to add a new post. *smile*

Well today, I went to the Newport Beach Temple.

(photo taken in August)
This past two Tuesdays, I've been going to the temple with my mother-in-law. I felt like I needed some more "spiritual" guidance so I can get on with my weeks. It's been good to me. Being in there and doing some important temple work has helped me have better weeks. I feel I'm more capable and courageous to tackle the tasks at hand with the little help from above. I have also noticed that I don't "cry" too much when I've gone to the temple. The emotions and "whining" gets controlled and I view things in a more positive light.
The best part of this, I don't have to worry about finding a sitter for my kids because they're both in school when I go to the temple. I just have to make sure I run back in time to pick up Ms. Maddie, which gets out an hour earlier than Marcus.

So that's a little glimpse on how a typical Tuesday goes for me. What about you?

But wait! This post doesn't feel complete without a "sprinkling" of some paper craft projects. Here's a couple...

Family Reunion

finally scrapped these photos. This event took place in the summer of 08. That just tells you that eventhough I scrap a lot, I'm still NOT updated. Not even close! I used Piggy Tales products on this page, btw.

Sweet Boy

and this card showcases some designs/images that I've cut from the Cricut. I love cutting images out in big batches, storing them away in a file folder and then mixing them all together in a future day. Going through the die cut items is a fun challenge. I'd never know which items will work together.

So that's it. Hope you're having a great week so far.

Till next time,

Sunday, September 19, 2010

My Sunday

Today was a good day. Our Friday and Saturday seemed to have been packed with so many things that today's biggest goal was to "relax" and for the most part that's exactly what we just did.

I love that our church services doesn't start till 11:30am. We change with another ward every two years. I think we change back to 9am in 2012.

So since we didn't have to get up early, we basically just lounged around.

the kids were in their pj's till 10:30 in the morning.

I got my coupons clipped and organized.

I even got my hair straightened.

Then read.

and took a quick photo of me before heading out the door to go to church. See my shirt? That's my new $5 buck shirt from Marshalls. Gotta love great deals!

Then when we came home, I helped Marcus read. As a 2nd grader he's supposed to read EVERYDAY and he has a reading log/chart that he needs to accomplish. And because Friday and Saturday was super busy, today was "catch up" day for reading. He was whining for the most part. Any suggestions on how to make my boy like reading?

One of my dear friends, Tiffanie, was so kind to teach me a new skill....knitting. I've been telling her how I've been eyeing those knitting needles and yarn at the craft store and need somebody to guide me through this new "craft" adventure. She gave me these when I saw her at church today. She even started the dreaded "casting on" for me. Ever since I got home, I've been doing it on and off and I have to say it's been fun. Trying out new things definitely gets my creative juices pumping.

We had an early dinner and then after clearing that out and getting dishes started in the dishwasher, I watered my flowers and got the sprinkler working a bit on the backyard lawn.

then I made a "pretty pink" project.

After "my" project was done, I got the kids to do some projects of their own. I bought this kit at Micheal's the other day and we decided that today was the day we'd start working on our Halloween crafts.

Here's Marcus' finished spider. Isn't he a cutie? Marcus is still deciding on the perfect name for his new creature friend. And I'm still figuring out how I can use these bad boys as a Halloween decoration without attaching anything on the wall, ceiling, doors or windows. We can't mess up our pretty, clean and bare wall's but I've been itching to decorate for the next holiday. Any suggestions? My last idea was to tie strings onto them and hang them from the ceiling fan. I think that's safe enough, right?

Well so that's our day. We were relaxed and rejuvenated. Now we are ready to tackle another week.

Till next time,

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sweet Birthday girl card

Got inspired to do a card last night. This one was based off on the latest Pagemaps card sketch up on the blog.

Sweet Birthday girl

I followed the placement and product treatment as on the sketch except for the apple. I made mine a layer of flowers instead. I love the soft appeal of this card. Perfect for Maddie's upcoming 5th birthday. I still can't believe she's almost 5!

Anyways, thanks for stopping by.

Till next time,


Let me first tell you how I'm loving that BOTH my kids go to school now. It's been 7 years since I've had some time ALL to myself. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids but being able to go to places without a child in tow has been a very rare luxury to me. So when this past Monday came and I dropped off the kids to school, I was left with an unplanned morning. What does this mother do????

Well first I ran. I need to get some exercise because I'm not doing so well in that department for the past few months. I've been avoiding the scale this last month because I know I'd be very sad to see the number on there. But enough of that....

Then after getting cleaned up, I went out to SHOP! I needed a new bed sheet for my bed and thought that it would be the perfect excuse to drive to the store. I went to Marshall's first. I didn't spend a TON on shopping, just bought my sheets and a couple of items that I scored at the clearance section but what I loved about the experience was that I was able to browse EVERY aisle without whining, crying or bored kids. When I left that store, I looked at my watch and I had spend an hour in that store. I couldn't believe it! I usually go in and out of the stores bec. I have the kids. The average time I spent in a store like that is 15 minutes, so you can just imagine how happily surprised I was that I had leisurely shopped for one full hour in there.

Then after that I hopped into Tuesday Morning which was next door and spent another hour there. I didn't get anything there. I'm sure the sales associates were eyeing me when I left. They're probably grumbling something bad because I spent all that time in their store and I didn't purchase anything. But you know what, I really didn't need anything there. I was just very happy to see what they had to offer. Oh BTW, the Tuesday Morning store that I went to had some Making Memories Slice die cut machine for $130. That's a great deal if you are looking for one. *wink*

And then after that I drove to the mall thinking I'll go walk around there but I stopped by this dollar book store (which is just outside of the mall) and was swept away with all the books I saw. I spent another hour there! And before I knew it, it was past lunch time. I had lunch (all by myself) at Pick up Stix and enjoyed that too. I know it was sad that I was by myself but believe me it was a little "happy moment" for me being that when I'm with the kids all they want to eat are burgers, chicken nuggets, pizza and fries. I'm glad to have tasted some "grown up" food for a change.

then after that it was time to pick up Maddie.

After a whole morning of shopping and browsing, here's what I came home with...

Yes even though I was in the stores for about an hour each, I still looked for GOOD bargains. I hope my hubby reads this and is proud of my "self control". LOL.

I'm so happy to have walked in that dollar book store. It's definitely going to be in my favorite shops list. The books are all second hand but the selection was enormous. There were really old books and also some that have been recently released. I picked these three up but I'm sure I'll be back there again soon.

So that's my Mommy story of the day.

Till next time,

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Missing him

So I was going through some of my pictures tonight to gain some inspiration on what to work on next and got around to this photo of my hunky hubby....

and I started missing him all over again. He's away from us right now working hard. I'm grateful that he's the kind of man that will do everything he can, even work in a totally different field than what he's been used to, just so he can provide for us. Provide for our basic needs- to give us the roof over our heads; the food that we eat and let me drive that "gas guzzler" of a vehicle that I "just had to have!". He is a great man and that's why I miss him more.

and then I came across this photo which was taken back in June during a birthday dinner that we put together for my dad. Looking at this made me a little sad. Not because we are not in this "happy-together" state right now but because our last photo together was taken 3 months ago. How can that happen when I literally pull out the camera every time there's a special moment to capture? I guess this is a lesson for me to take more photos of us together.

These are the times when I'm VERY grateful that "memory preservation" is a BIG part of my life. I can be in tune with things I need to improve on and make it a point to not loose that special memory/memories again.

Till next time,

Oh BTW, did you notice the change in the blog? I thought it needed some revamping and the 3 columns was feeling a bit to cramped to me. I'm loving the "clean roomy" feel of this two column set up. What do you think?

California Science Museum mini (photo heavy)

So I showed you the layouts I made with the September Crazy Daisy kit, now let me show you the mini I made with it. Yes, you read it right. One of the things I LOVE about Crazy Daisy kits is that it not only gives you ample products to make 5 layouts but it also gives you a mini album that you can work with. All in all, I think this is the best kit for anybody's buck!

California Science Museum mini


The Basic Grey mini that came in the kit was lovely. I loved the staggered sizes, the shape and the color. It was a great foundation for my book about our trip last year to a local museum.


With my title page, I layered a bunch of school themed stickers plus the Basic Grey letter stickers were the right size to use for my long title.




Since the color of the book was already perfect to make the pictures and papers stand out, I opted to leave it as is and then got to play with the placement of my pictures.


After I got my pictures placed and adhered, I then added my papers in small doses. After that I layered stickers, embellishments and all sorts of fun stuff on it.






I also made some handmade flowers here, layering pattern paper, crumpling them and then adding either buttons or another paper.




At the end of all the "fun", the book came out chunkier that I had expected! But it's all good. One more memory preserved forever.

Thank you for looking and check out the kit and the rest of the projects made with it here.

Till next time,

Sunday, September 12, 2010

September Crazy Daisy share....

There are so many things we have or do on a regular basis that somehow we take for granted and then when we stop having or doing them, then we get this sad, missing feeling inside of us. Are you still with me?

Well I'm talking about my monthly kit from Crazy Daisy. I was super bummed when I was not able to play along during the month of August because of the craziness around here so when September came, I was literally stalking my mail box everyday till my kit arrived. And to my joy it did arrive and you bet I was hard at work at it ever since. Here's my pages with the lovely and aptly school themed September kit..


A block design here. I'm digging this style because I can place my pictures first and then just fill the empty spaces.

To break the square feel, I tilted that patter paper strips on the right hand side.

Lots of layering here again with the title against the 4 playing card, the border stickers and papers on top of the journaling block, the flower on top of the jillibean soup circle block and the butterfly with stickers collection.

Homemade Pie

This was a fun one. I knew I wanted to incorporate the banner paper since that is a trend right now so I cut them out and covered the letters part with my title.



Before I adhered the pattern paper onto that black paper background, I cut out some part of it (the one that will be covered by another paper) so I can use some of the birdhouse images on the back of that black paper. Here I cut them out and adhered three with one added with dimensional adhesive. The houses reinforced the "homemade" theme of the page.
I also loved the sticker "handmade by" which was the PERFECT addition to the cluster of embellishments here.
I cut out a butterfly chipboard from the border, added color to it with glimmer mist and topped off with a button.

Happy As Can Be

This is my 2 page spread for the month. I used another block design on this one and I was happy that the shaped pattern paper broke some of the blockiness of the page.
I was trying hard to use those great GCD Studios blocks and I was happy that I was able to use one in this layout. The title summed up my son's feelings for his birthday.
Since this was his 6th birthday, I added the 6 playing card and the 6 sticker on the star for reinforcement of the theme.


I created some texture and shape with the strips of paper by using some border punch on one and handfolding the other to create the creased look.
Again more layering here and creating cluster of embellishments.


I used the tabs that came in the Jillibean soup sticker sheet and recorded whom the gifts came from.

Animal Show

I'm into block design lately and this layout shows that. I think it makes it easy to create a clean simple design with it. Anyways I added my pictures first, then on the black spots, I added papers, journaling block and title.

The journaling block had a sun with a number 2 on there. I really didn't need that 2 in my layout so I covered it with journaling block and then more stickers.

1st day of 1st grade

This is the first page I made with the kit. I wanted to mat that notebook paper onto brown cardstock to make it stand out more. I cut out the report card paper to create an uneven border with it. I also used the typed paper from Crate Paper as part of my border and tore the top end of it for added interest.

I loved layering all the stickers that was in the kit. There were so much to choose from. And to make them stand out a little against the background I adhered them with dimensional adhesive.
I wanted something large for part of my title so I cut out some words from one of the Crate Paper pattern papers. To make it stand out more I also adhered them onto one of the Jillibean soup journaling block.

So there you have it. Make sure you check out the kit and design team gallery for more eye candy.

Till next time,

Saturday, September 11, 2010

First day of school at the Tolman home

OK so on Thursday the kids officially went back to school. With the years passed, I felt that with all the chaos of the first day I really don't get my kids and especially ME well prepared for that "big" day. So this year I decided to change that and made preparations starting the night before.

I made their lunches the night before. It finally hit me that Maddie is going to Kindergarten after I made two sandwiches instead of my usual one "toasted- Peanut butter- cut off the crust please", request that Marcus always asks.

Since we were not prepared to be staying here in Cali when school started I had already packed up the kids' school backpacks and lunch boxes. So lucky them, they got to pick new ones at Target a couple of days before school started. I love having A boy and A girl. The difference in what they like always shows in everything. Here we see a pink Hello Kitty for Maddie and the sword fighting Star Wars one for my "rough boy" Marcus

We got Maddie's backpack at the Disney store for $10. I love it when that store has some wonderful deals like this. Her shoes was bought at Target just this week. I bought her some tennis shoes last year that she hardly wore and thought that it might still be good for this year. I found out early this week that that won't do because the shoes are too tight on her now. What was this Mama thinking?! Her feet grew 2 full sizes since last September!

Marcus got this Iron Man combo at Payless. He loves the shoes because it lights up. I love that somethings are still not "too" childish for him like shoes that light up.

We also got their first day of school outfits and backpacks all ready and set up on their beds the night before. I didn't want to hassle with the old age question "What will I wear today?" on the morning of. Especially with Maddie, who knows how long it would've taken her to get dressed?!

and then that morning, I "tried" to get myself up early enough that I was able to break the "cereals and milk" routine with some pancakes and sausage. Special breakfast for a special day, don't you think? Look at how happy my 2nd grader was?

and here's my "just got out of bed, still have my pj's on" Kindergartner.

Then before we left for school, I had to get some shots of the eager and cute school kids that are off on a new "school year" adventure. I get a little teary eyed looking at this photo of the kids. Gosh have they grown up fast!

So when we got there we had to quickly find their names on the list and proceed to whichever rooms they belong. Marcus fell in line for the room 8 class and I took Maddie to the room 7 line.
I was nervous for Maddie that I stayed with her the whole time. I tried to sneak out of the classroom for a bit to see Marcus in his class but when I got to his room, the teacher had already excused all the parents out of the room. Too bad I didn't get to see him and talk a bit with his teacher. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to wait for the back to school night.

Maddie was very apprehensive in going to Kindergarten. She would always say that she didn't want to go because (a) she can't read yet and (b) the homeworks are hard. And every time she'd made this comment we would assure her that everything will be fine and that the teacher will not expect her to read as she steps into Kindergarten. That is why I was bracing myself for some major trauma or crying on the first day of school. But to my luck, one of Maddie's preschool buddies was also in that class. As soon as Maddie saw Zoe, they were inseparable. All of Maddie's worries seem to have flown away with the idea of an "old" friend around in her new environment. During the school tour, I had to keep on reminding Maddie and Zoe to stay in the line and listen to their teacher- Mrs. Lim. I have a feeling that the first comment that I'll read on Maddie's first report card is "talks too much in class." *wink*

So that's it. School has started and I'm crossing my fingers that despite of an uncertain future for our family, the kids will have a good year in school. And with the looks of today, it might just happen.

Till next time,