Happy iNSD 2015! Sales, Freebies and Fun!

It’s that time of year again! It’s {inter}National Scrapbooking Day, which means HUGE sales, tons of new products and even a Digiscrap Parade Freebie!

First up, I have several brand new items at HUGE discounts. For example, pick up the pieces of my Together Collection for only $1.00 each right now! These pieces are part of the May 2015 Special Edition, which means you can mix and match with items from other designers at The Digital Press to create your own unique collaboration kit.

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I had fun putting together this set of cut files for your pocket scrapbooking or digital scrapbooking needs! Each number is 3×3″ and numbers 1-31 are included. You can grab the cut files in either SVG or DXF format, or you can pick up the PNG files which come in solid black and a pretty kraft paper! Grab it for 40% off!

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Are you ready to put your garden in? Then scrap that action with my Spring Garden collection!

Only $4.00 from May 1-4.

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Thanks for participating in the May 2015 DigiScrap Parade! This mini kit is now available in my store.

If you’re following the Parade route from start to finish, you should have arrived here from Vero Scrap and your next stop will be ninigoesdigi. If you get lost along the way, simply head back to the main DigiScrap Parade site to view the master list and get back on track.

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 I also wanted to bring your attention to this awesome collaboration kit by the designers at The Digital Press! Isn’t it amazing?

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And, FINALLY, if you are looking for a place to play this weekend, please do stop by the forums at The Digital Press! We have lots of awesome challenges, amazing prizes, fun inspiration and more!

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Have a blast this {i}NSD!

6×8 Page Templates and Love You Tomorrow

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Pennysaver is going strong, and as of today you can find 66 brand new products for only $1.00 each!  In fact, I now have SIX products in the Pennysaver category with even more coming! Check out these two new items!

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And, the Creative Team at The Digital Press came up with these gorgeous layouts! YAY!

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You can grab the 6×8 Page Templates (which are SO perfect for Project Life and Pocket Scrapping!) and my Love You Tomorrow digital kit in my shop at The Digital Press.

While you are there, don’t miss these fun Pennysaver Products!

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You’ll want to head on over to The Digital Press to check out all of the Pennysaver Products that have been released. If you want to stay up to date, be sure to subscribe to The Digital Press Newsletter!

AND, just a little reminder that you can still grab my Digiscrap Parade contribution (which has been hugely popular!) by visiting this post on my blog.

14 years of Marriage: Time Well Spent

On November 22nd, my handsome husband and I will celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary.  OH, how I love that man!  It totally doesn’t feel like 14 years.  More like 5.  Except that things were harder at year 5 than they are now.  BUT, what I mean is that it feels like we were married just yesterday!  Except that I love him more.

Isn’t that just incredible?  I mean, you think you love the person you are going to marry more than any other person/thing on the entire planet on the day that you stand before your friends and family in a gorgeous white dress (the skinniest you will ever be).  You can’t imagine loving anyone more.  And then, you find out your lover is human and imperfect.  Once you get over that (and mature a little), you learn to love his faults (while gritting your teeth) and you figure out how well you compliment one another.  He is so much better at some things than I am, and I am better at others.

Life, over fourteen years of marriage, is full of ups and downs, highs and lows.  You ride the roller coaster together, unwilling to let go of one another’s hand.  Clinging to his hand, actually.  Because getting off the ride is not an option . . . it will only result in destruction (and lots of tears and perhaps a bloody mess).

Then, one day, not suddenly, but gradually, you feel a different hand in your own – the Heavenly Father’s hand. You look across and see your husband holding that hand as well.  The roller coaster isn’t so scary with a third person in the seat with you, with his arms around both of your shoulders drawing you together.  In fact, it is more exciting than scary.

This is our story!  Oh, how I love my husband.  I can’t imagine going through life without him.

I recently listened to a wonderful sermon preached on marriage.  The pastor quoted some statistics that really got me thinking.  Most divorces occur in the first 7 years of marriage.  In fact, according to the dude, years 5-7 are the worst.  Why do you think there is something called “the 7 year itch”?  The first 5-7 years of marriage are the most difficult years, as you are learning about one another, facing challenges and obstacles together (or apart?) and learning more about how the other person deals with strain. The interesting thing is that those who get divorced in the first 7 years of marriage usually remarry . . . and then they have to go through the terrible first 5-7 years of marriage all over again.

As I thought back to our first 7 years of marriage, there were certainly ups and downs.  We had a lot of fun in our pre-kid days, living lots of adventures together.  I loved those days, but they were not easy, that’s for sure.  We both grew up considerably as we learned how to treat one another.

Then, our first child was born at year 6 and I became a stay at home mom (a huge transition), and at the same time my husband switched careers.  It was HARD. It’s still difficult to think about those days, because it brings back the stressful and anxious feelings.  I had NO idea what I was doing with this sweet, precious bundle of boy that I loved with every fiber of my being.  I didn’t have any family close by to give me 10 minutes away from him so I could unwind and relax a little, and my husband was working long hours, often out of state for weeks at a time.  I experienced postpartum depression with a smile on my face and a freaked out look in my often teary eyes.  Of course, no one knew about this except my husband who, bless his heart, was also trying to hold it together as he tried to soothe his wife while experiencing the stress of a new job.

Those years of baby, miscarriage, anxiety, another baby and starting a new business (and the unbelievable stress associated with that) were the worst.  Those were our years 6 through 9.  We like to mess with statistics.  Of course, you never would have known how much we were struggling, because we are quite private people (with a blog! Yeah, I know!).  We smiled a lot.  Everything was just fine.  It was great.  Life was good.  If you say it often enough, you begin to believe it, right?  (Side note: I do believe very strongly that smiling is better than frowning and that there is power in positive thinking and that no one likes a whiner.  Imagine how much worse things would have been if I had complained to everyone I knew!  Yikes!  My marriage would NOT have survived that.)

BUT, we got through it.  We focused on God, which is something we should have worked harder on in our pre-kid days, right?

And then, for some reason, in year 10 or so, God decided to bless us by giving us back those often elusive wedding day feelings of bliss.  Oh, it’s true that those feelings came and went over the years, but I’m believing that they are here to stay.

My husband loves me.  He really, really, truly loves me.  I can’t imagine life without him.  I can’t imagine giving up all that we have fought for over the years.  I can’t imagine wasting those memories on divorce.  LIFE has happened with my husband by my side.  Children have been born to us: our precious boys who complete our family in amazing ways.

If your marriage is struggling, CLING to your husband.  CLING to God and seek him together.  Work through this time and know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Marriage is not easy, but it is so worth it.  It takes hard work, but it is so rewarding.

(Layout credits: Photos by Kellie Parry Photography, Time Well Spent by Elise’s Pieces)

Happy Anniversary month, my dear Mitchell Grant.  I’d do it all over again.

My Groceries!

Howdy ya’ll!

Forgive me.  I just got back from a trip to Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Not that anyone said Ya’ll. See, these days Texans are actually transplanted Californians.  Like my family.  Hee, hee!  For the record, I did graduate from a Texas high school (which is why I’m so brilliant).  I never said Ya’ll (too much of a valley girl, I suppose), however I was tempted a few times.  Why is it that when you get around people with accents your own accent comes out?  It’s kind of embarrassing how I get all twangy around Texans. I just can’t help it!

ANYWAY . . . you didn’t come here to hear all about my trip to see my little brother get hitched.  You are actually here for the groceries.  Weirdos.  (Said affectionately, of course.)

There is not a lot going on at Safeway this week, and as you all know, I’m kind of a Safeway girl.  I’m much too lazy to go “into town” (Salem, OR) to shop, so I stick to my local stores.

This morning’s trip:

I did this in 3 transactions (one early in the morning, and two more in the late morning).

I used some rainchecks because our store ran out of the Viva and the Suddenly Salad last week.

The Viva paper towels are printing a Catalina (NOT that you should run out and buy any, because that sale was last week, not this week.  This week’s price is very NOT good.  Don’t do it.)  Since I’m miss smartypants and got a raincheck, each package cost me $0.99.  For some reason a $5 Catalina printed instead of a $4 Catalina (as I was expecting).  I’ll take it!  :)

The Suddenly Salad (seriously, my go-to “please bring a salad” dish for the summer) was 24¢ a box after the raincheck, coupons and doubler.  Remember, this was last week’s sale, so don’t go out and pay $3 for a box of processed pasta! Yikes! Winco typically stocks up during the summer and you can get it for 98¢, if you must have it.  And, I do. Yum.

For the record (since I know some of you are saying, “where are the veggies!?!”), I did do a produce run on Tuesday for apples, bananas, spinach, cucumbers and carrots.  That’s just not as exciting, so I didn’t take a picture.  What IS exciting is that my 7-year-old packed his lunch this morning before I rolled out of bed.  What did he pack?  1/2 a jam sandwich, home-canned pears and a spinach salad. {squeal in delight!}  Which just goes to show you that if you don’t keep pre-packaged lunch junk in the house, your child will find something else to pack . . . like spinach salad.  Okay, I’m done with the mama bragging. Excuse me. :)

This weeks stuff:

Wheat Thins Stix were 67¢ each after weekend sale price and $1/1 coupon (DND).  I’ve been making hummus lately and my boys LOVE these Stix dipped in hummus!

The Vlasic Pickles were 89¢ each after BOGO deal, coupon and doubler.

I hadn’t used the Mission .75/1 IP from Cinco de Mayo, and the chips were on sale, so I paid 74¢ after in-ad coupon, IP and doubler.

The Oscar Meyer hot dogs are 99¢ each with the in-ad coupon, so I paid 24¢ each after MC and doubler.  This deal WILL come around again this summer, so don’t freak out if you didn’t get many. They freeze very well, and I still have some left over from end of summer sales last year.

Angel Food Cake is a daily deal today, so I bought 2 for $1.49 each. I’m hoping these freeze well since I’m buying 40lbs of fresh, washed, sliced strawberries that come in mid/late June! Anyone have any experience with freezing angel food cake?

Other deals I saw:

My store had a cardboard display in the condiment isle and by the meat section for Bulls Eye BBQ sauce.  There was a .55/1 (DND) coupon on the display.  Since the BBQ sauce is 99¢ this week, you would pay 44¢ a bottle.  Not a bad price at all!  I remember getting a bunch for free last year, plus I have about 6 bottles in my pantry right now, so I didn’t buy any, however if you don’t have any BBQ sauce on hand, it might be worth it to you to buy a couple of bottles.

Look in the comments of this post at Frugal Living NW.  A gal there is reporting 12 packs of soda for $1.99 today only. We aren’t really soda buyers here, so I can’t verify it, but if you DO buy soda, I think that is a good price.  Right?

I didn’t get some of the coupons for some of the matchups on the blog, but I’m not gonna freak out about it.  Please know that these deals WILL come around again this summer!!  We still have 4th of July and Labor Day sales coming up!  Also, as you come across some of these amazing condiment deals, think about how much your family will go through in a year, and buy that amount.  However, remember to look at the expiration date!!!  Most salad dressings these days don’t have a very long shelf life, and some other condiments are the same!

I totally realize that the photo I posted is mostly junk-ish food.  Not terribly healthy.  However, these are items that my family DOES buy (think picnics, camping BBQs, etc.), and now I won’t have to pay full price when something comes up.  By buying these items when they are on sale and creating a stockpile that I can “shop” from, I don’t actually have to buy much to feed my family these days except the basics: fruit, veggies, milk, eggs and cheese (although I DID price match the Fred Meyer ad at Walmart when Tillamook was on sale for $3.99. Yeah, baby! I’ve got 6 bricks in my fridge!).

THIS means that I can afford to spend my grocery money where it is important to me.

I bought 12 lbs of organic Fuji apples for $10 (that’s 83¢/lb), and 2 lbs of eco-farmed basmati  rice for $3 (not a whole lot more than Walmart) from Azure Standard.  Remember, we have an open fruit drawer policy, so we go through a LOT of apples.  Hopefully these will last me 2 weeks.

I also purchased 1 gallon of raw milk from a trusted source for $8.  Spendy milk, huh?  I’m still experimenting with it, but I am completely hooked and think one of my good friends (or my mother-in-law) should buy a jersey cow (and some laying hens!!).  The milk is awesome for drinking, but I’ve also used the cream (which you can’t see in this picture because it was so fresh when I picked it up that it hadn’t separated, yet) for our coffee.  I also made feta cheese (which turned out pretty good, but I’m letting it age a bit), and I’ll be making some ricotta this weekend, too.  I might keep the cream from this gallon to make butter, although something tells me that I’ll be using it in my coffee because it is SO delish.

Aaaaannd, those are my groceries!

Did I miss any awesome sales?

The Easter Basket Template Set and Cutting Files!

I had SO much fun coming up with the samples for this week’s new/revamped products! What a blast to get my fingers a little bit sticky and play with some gorgeous digital paper designed by a couple of my favorite designers in the industry.  I’ll show you what I did in a second, but first, let me show you my new releases!

You can purchase the complete set of templates (including a pdf version, for you non-techy types!) and cutting files, OR you can grab just the cutting files.  Click on the images to be taken to my store.

I revamped this previously released template to make the scoring lines less noticeable (they are the more updated connect-the-dash style) and I included cutting files for your digital die cut machine!  Remember that you need an intermediary software like Sure Cuts A Lot to be able to cut these on your Cricut machine. Other types of digital cutters probably come with a software that allows you to cut these files, but just to be sure, you should test your machine’s software by trying out my Paper Flower Pieces Template, first.

For my first sample, I used a new release by Karen Lewis called My Wonderland. GORGEOUS!!  It’s all about home and family and contains the most amazing patterned papers that are perfect for hybrid projects. I absolutely love it!  You should check out ALL her kits, because she has a total knack for creating fun patterned papers that look amazing all printed out.

And, really, it is EASY to use digital papers, even if you don’t have any special software.  You would just double click on a paper file (which is a jpg image) and then whatever software you have loaded onto your computer that deals with jpgs will open it up.  That might be “preview” or it could be the photo editing software that came with your camera.  In any case, SOMETHING will open it.  Then, you just print it!  I like to print mine on matte photo paper, but you could totally print it on cardstock.  Just expect more muted colors.  If you want to learn more about hybrid, check out this Where to Start article over at The Hybrid Chick.  I talked a bit about printing on different types of papers over there.

And, as I said, you can always just print the pdf files onto a piece of patterned paper that you already have in your stash and then cut by hand!  I try to make it super easy for ya!

 

Like those eggs?  I printed some papers onto plain copy paper and covered some plastic eggs!  I did a tutorial on that over at The Hybrid Chick a while back, and a brand new one (which uses tissue paper instead of copy paper) was just recently posted.  The Hybrid Chick is a wealth of information!

Heather played with this template and it took on a whole new look!  Check out her birthday themed project using the And Many More kit by Wishing Well Creations:

Aren’t those great?!

Remember that you can pick these up The Easter Basket Template Set and Cutting Files on sale this new release weekend over in my shop!!

I’ll be back to show you my OTHER new release in just a few!  But, if you just can’t stand the wait, click on over to my store!

For the Love of Hybrid

For the Love of Hybrid – Feb. 26th & 27th

A special event is coming this weekend… we hope you’ll join us!

Are you curious about hybrid papercrafts, but you don’t know where to start? The Digichick Creative Team girls have teamed up with The Hybrid Chicks to bring you several easy to follow tutorials and tons of eye candy! You’ll feel empowered to pick up those scissors and get your fingers inky. Come and find out what all the hybrid hype is all about over @ The Hybrid Chick!

Coupon winners!

Congrats to these two ladies who entered and WON my Quaker Coupon Giveaway!

That was SO much fun!!  Perhaps I’ll have to accidentally purchase too many high-value coupons again sometime, eh?

My favorite part about the giveaway was reading through all of your comments and discovering some new coupon blogs.  Aren’t those ladies awesome for helping us find the best deals?

Do me a favor and go leave a comment on a couple of your favorite blogs to THANK them for all of their hard work!! I’m convinced that our coupon bloggers have no idea how much we love them and how valuable they are to us.  Hugs all around!