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?


Too Busy to Get Anything Done September 5, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 12:04 am
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I’m embarrassed to say this, but I’ve barely been home all month. It feels like I haven’t slept in my own bed more than two nights in a row in ages. From church camp to pet sitting, from weddings to movie shoots, I’ve managed to pack my schedule so tightly that I have barely had a chance to catch my breath.

It’s my own fault, really. I’m the one who tends to try to do too much, and I binge on people. It’s only when I start to see certain signs that I realize that I am overwhelming myself with activities and people.

Take, for instance, the fact that I have been in and out of my house so often that my laundry has exploded across my room and I still haven’t fully unpacked from camping, which was at the beginning of August. I spent a good hour last weekend trying to find a shirt before giving up on it. I found it while cleaning tonight. It was still in that bag from camp.

The same thing happens with my purse. I’m running so often over a significant amount of time that I start to cram everything and anything into my purse. (People who were at the last secret sister revealing at Evergreen can attest to that.) I have receipts spilling out of every pocket, and I can’t ever find anything, especially a pen or the change floating at the bottom. It becomes so weighed down that, when I take my camera out like I did yesterday, I begin to think I’m not carrying a purse because of the noticeable difference in pressure it puts on my arm.

Then there’s is the whole forgetfulness cue. I know that I have certain things to get done, but I always get distracted with what is at hand. I have several people to see, but I start being late for appointments. That’s never a good thing. To attempt to get on this, I’ve created “to-do” lists, but they just stare back at me, overwhelming me with the number of projects I’ve started and have yet to finish. (And, yes, I have read Ashley’s post on that.)

Worst of all, I have to deal with the fact that I don’t make time to work on my job search. I’ll confess: this last month has been far less than stellar in respect to the number of jobs I have been applying for. When I have a significant amount of free time, I tend to send out a half dozen to a dozen applications or resumes a week, whether by email or by walking into a store. This month, I’ve probably done a week’s worth in the entire month.

You would think that I would learn after having done this to myself on a regular basis. But I haven’t. I still go on people binges, hiding away in my room to edit photos for days at a time whenever I get the opportunity until the itch to replace Adobe Photoshop with humans reaches me again.

Maybe it’ll ease up a little bit again once I find a job that has more consistent hours. But, until then, I need to find myself some free time to fill out more applications and hopefully cram in an interview or two.


10 Things to Do Before You Quit Your Day Job August 27, 2009

Filed under: Writing — michellehuegel @ 2:42 pm
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This article from The Urban Muse is so perfect for me right now, as I’m transitioning from my “day job” to being full-time mommy (first!) and freelancer. Some great tips, especially numbers 3 and 5, which I think are somewhat related. Often – or at least hopefully – joining professional organizations is a great source of networking and finding new contacts.

I’m also working on ideas for using my existing network of business contacts with the cell phone store to generate editing/writing business. One idea (thanks to my mother, actually) is to join the local Chamber of Commerce and then offer my services to the Niles business community to help with their Web sites/blogs, writing/editing brochures, advertisements, etc.

If you’re a writer or editor, have you joined your Chamber of Commerce or equivalent? Has it benefited you?


To-Do Lists and Human Nature August 18, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — ashleybarrett @ 5:14 pm
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I’m a big fan of to-do lists and writing down what I want to accomplish. When I suddenly remember something, I will stop what I’m doing and write it down. Then, I feel relieved because I don’t have to think about it until I do it.


However, to-do lists come with drawbacks.  Sometimes the list grows frighteningly long and I find myself moving as fast as I can to shrink the list. When I’m in a rush, I don’t enjoy my tasks, don’t perform them as well and wander through my day anxious and self-centered.

This behavior doesn’t sound like the abundant life Jesus told me about.

So one day last week, when I had a lot to do, I decided I would work through my tasks, enjoy them and let myself not finish everything. I actually never finish everything on my list (does anybody?) but this time, I would not stare at my incomplete lists and gloomily move tasks to the next day.

That decision was put to the test at the grocery store when I locked my keys in the car and couldn’t reach my husband. What should have been a 45 minute shopping trip stretched more than two hours. While waiting in the parking lot, I tried to make the best of it by enjoying the sunshine, snacking on my groceries and reading a magazine (even though the magazine wasn’t terribly interesting, I had nothing else to do and don’t think this goes against my decision not to read articles I don’t enjoy).

And despite those obstacles, I accomplished everything that needed to be done and several things I wanted to get done. Maybe that’s what Jesus meant, there would always be more than enough for needs. At the end of the day, instead of feeling drained, I had more energy than usual. I thanked God for everything I completed that day and planned for the next day.  Then I enjoyed an evening with my husband instead of collapsing on the couch until I drug myself into bed.

Are you a to-do list fan or do they make you anxious? How do you accomplish the essentials while staying sane?


Parties May 18, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 2:15 pm
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This weekend I had the privilege of being involved with two separate parties, one I planned and the other I only attended. The first was my parents’ 50th birthday party, and the second was a bridal shower for one of my close friends from high school.

There were aspects of both that I truly enjoyed. It was great seeing the joy on my parents’ faces as they saw friends and family come celebrate with them, for instance. But it was also great to be able to win the door prize at the other party, a bag of kitchen towels, dish cloths and scrubbies. Both parties I was able to just sit back and enjoy the interactions between the other guests.

On the other hand, there are downsides to both roles in a party. For example, it was draining to have to do the planning, decorating and cooking for my parents’ party. I enjoyed it, but it was draining (on both my energy and wallet).  At the other party, I found myself like I typically do at parties: not knowing what to do with myself because I didn’t have a specific “job” other than just being there and enjoying the company.

Looking back at both parties, I’m not entirely sure which role I would rather take. I love to entertain, and I like being in charge, but it’s stressful to have that much weighing on your shoulders. At the same time, however, it’s nice to enjoy the work that others have put into a celebration as well. I guess that it is important to have a balance between the two now and again.

Which role would you rather take: the person planning the party or the person attending the party?