The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

Ideas for Scrapbooking Changes Over Time September 14, 2010

Have you ever said or heard the phrase “They grow up so fast”? Kids aren’t the only ones who change (quickly or slowly) over time, though. Another great example would be pregnancy – possibly the most rapid and visible change a women will ever undergo! Or, for you green thumbs out there, do you love watching your garden go from a square of black soil, to a lush expanse of greenery, to a colorful crop of ripe goodies or fragrant flowers? Scrapbooking a single photo of your garden in full bloom or your child at age four is great, but scrapping a page about how that child or garden changed over time tells a fuller story. And it’s just so much fun to see those seemingly-small changes week by week (or month by month, or year by year, etc.) add up over time to a much bigger change! In the examples here of my weekly belly photo scrapbook pages, if you compare one week to the next there’s not much change. But looking at the beginning and the end of one trimester shows quite a difference! (Click on images for full credits)

It takes commitment and discipline to track changes over time. I’m terribly forgetful – despite reminders set on both my phone and my husband’s, we would often forget to take a picture until right before bedtime, or even the next day. But even if I was tired, or didn’t feel like it, I made myself take that picture. Often it was in front of my bathroom mirror, or holding the camera out in front of my belly myself!

Here are some other ideas of what you could track over time: child’s growth (daily, weekly, monthly, and/or yearly), your yard, your garden, a single flower or vegetable plant (from planting all the way to blooming), a room in your house, school classroom, haircuts, your body (especially if you’re on a diet or trying to lose weight – maybe pair each picture with your weight that day/week/month?), holiday preparations (photo a day in December?).

All of these examples are things that may not show a big difference day to day, but it’s fascinating to see that series of photos side by side – a vivid representation of the passage of time.

To help you get started, here’s a few templates I found that are perfect for scrapping changes over time (images are linked!):

Here’s one specifically for babies, but could definitely be used for any pictures/theme!

Scrapping with Liz at Scrap Orchard offers this set of templates to scrap your goals:

Now I’d love to hear your thoughts! What are some other changes you can capture over time? Do you have a great template or other resource you can link us up to?


Moving On With Lemonade June 12, 2010

Filed under: Food & Cooking,Life in General — michellehuegel @ 9:49 am
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After 12 years in Michigan (well, including a short stint in Mishawaka), we are moving on. Upward, remains to be seen. Downward certainly, at least geographically. Around in circles, sometimes. But I think just “on” is the best description. Life goes on, even when it seems like there’s no possible way to go, somehow it marches on.  Josh has no job in San Antonio yet, we have no house there, and we are still stuck trying to sell our mobile home in Michigan – still we believe God is leading us to San Antonio. For many reasons, and maybe one day I’ll try to think through and list them all for you, but today I’m just focused on the leaving, not the whys.

I don’t want this to be a depressing, morbid post, and as I look back through my first paragraph it certainly seems to be drifting that way. To quickly reroute and avoid water damage on my laptop, I’ll tell you about the Great Lemonade Experiment at my going-away party, thrown by (who else?!) Erin and Ashley. Erin craved homemade lemonade for some reason, so she stopped at the grocery store on her way to Joel and Ashley’s (party central) to pick up the ingredients.

Step 1: Peel and Slice

I craved chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream (I have an excuse, remember) so she got me some of that too :). None of us actually knew/remembered how to make real lemonade, though, so we prevailed upon Joel to Google us a recipe. He obligingly found one, but it required about 4 hours of prep time (!!!), mostly involved with making simple syrup and letting it cool (the author was obviously not familiar with refrigerators as a quick-cooling method). Since none of us had that kind of patience, even all put together, we decided to modify the recipe. Surely if we had lemons, a juicer, water, and sugar, we could dump-and-pour and come up with something drinkable, right?

Wait, scratch the sugar part. Ashley and Joel, as you might be aware from reading Ashley’s blog posts, are living on an “eat nothing invented in the past 100 years” diet and therefore had no normal sugar in the house. She had some sort of sugar replacement (maybe she can comment on this and tell us what it is?). Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to act or taste quite like sugar in lemonade. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First they (meaning everyone but me, who was enjoying the “i’m pregnant” excuse to relax and put my feet up :)) had to peel and juice the lemons.

Step 2: Shove through juicer

This created a most amazing scent wafting through the house – way better than a citrus-scented candle. If only it didn’t take so much time and effort, I would use freshly-peeled and juiced lemons as an air freshener every day. As the “supervisor,” I reminded them to slice some lemons for garnish, too. We had plenty – Erin went a bit overboard and bought about two dozen.

After the peeling, juicing, and slicing, Erin started concocting. I’m sure we all got an ample dose of Erin-cooties from all the sampling/testing. 🙂

Step 3: Measure the ingredients

Step 4: Ignore the recipe's measurements. Dump and pour, tasting after each addition.

Like I said before, the “sugar” wasn’t quite up to normal sugariness, and (in my opinion) left the lemonade a bit lacking. But certainly not for lack of effort! And we drank and enjoyed it anyway. In terms of memories and good times, I don’t think I’ve ever had a sweeter, tarter glass of lemonade. A good analogy for how I feel leaving Niles, I suppose. Leaving my home of 12 years and many, many friends (not to mention Josh’s family!), along with all the uncertainty that’s surrounded this move, leaves a biting tartness in my heart. But the possibilities and excitement of a cross-country move, a new place to explore, new friends to meet, and better job prospects for Josh bring sweetness into the mix (the real kind of sugary sweetness, not that weird all-natural fake stuff). I don’t think my life-lemonade mix is quite right yet – our lives are still in too much turmoil, with too much tart uncertainty hanging over our heads. But I’m sure soon, as we trust God and move on each day in faith, He will bring more sweetness into our lives. And eventually, I trust we will find the perfect balance of missing our friends and our old home, and enjoying making new friends in a new home.

Step 5: Enjoy with friends!


Do You Have a Phony Phone Voice? March 30, 2010

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 11:52 am
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“You have such a sweet phone voice. Will you call me and leave me a message, just so that I can appreciate it.”

It’s the most awkward compliment I’ve ever received. Considering the guy who said it to me was known at our college for making other people feel uncomfortable, I just found it amusing. But ever since, I have paid attention to and tried to somewhat normalize my sickeningly sweet telephone voice and to the noticeable changes in the voices of the people around me.

Moms can easily turn on this voice in between yelling at their children for disobeying to a pleasant sweet  (and occasionally only slightly frazzled) “hello?” Students yelling at their computers may answer their cell phones as if they haven’t a care in the world.

In my observations, though, I’ve noticed that people don’t just have a “phone voice”, many people often have a “prayer voice” as well. Even though we might have just been laughing our tails off at some ridiculous joke or yelling across the room to a friend, the moment we go to pray, our voices change.

For the past several months, I’ve made it a point to note how people start out their prayers. Even small children seem to have picked up this habit. The moment you bow your heads to pray aloud, a somber tone comes over the group, and the person doing the honors often clears his or her throat before starting in a lowered, much more serious tone. Children often turn their voices to a whisper.

Now, I completely understand having a reverent voice when you speak to God. It makes sense. We’re supposed to honor and revere Him. But does that mean that we can talk about God in such a light way any other time? He hears everything we say anyway.

Maybe it’s not the fact that we tend to have special ways of speaking for prayer, but rather the fact that there is such an extreme change in the way that we talk. Is it our culture that we must be brash and demanding in everyday conversation but then act solemn and sedated in prayer? Or is it just me?

What do you think? Are you one of those people who tends to have different “voices” for different situations you are in? Do you have a “prayer voice”? Should we have a “prayer voice”?