Die Yet? :D

That’s how I spell diet, which is the latest adventure I embarked on two days ago. 😀 I exchanged my See Food diet with the South Beach diet (which is yet the best diet for me so far, because it actually forces one to take on a healthier lifestyle!)

For one who loooooves eating, this is not an easy journey. Show me anything from entrees to main meals to desserts and snacks: you’ve got me in the palm of your hand. 😆 (It doesn’t help that people in my country will find every single possible excuse to celebrate with food, and that kind of culture is deeply ingrained in my psyche, hehe). But! It’s good to pull up my jeans and strut around without having to unbutton the top of my jeans by the end of the day just because it feels like total freedom to do so. 😆

Is it hard? Yeah. Does temptation abound? Heck, yeah!

But it’s amazing. Because I realized that if I can overcome the temptation to eat what I want to eat (given that eating is not bad at all), then I suppose that strengthens my spirit and trains my resolve, so that it becomes easier to stay on the good path in other aspects that may not be so good, should temptation arise in those, whatever they may be (hmmm, the temptation to be impatient, for instance, or the temptation to scream when the telemarketers make their calls one after another in the span of 5 minutes. 😆 ) It’s sort of a variation of that principle that if you have been faithful in little things, then you can be faithful in bigger things. 😉

Another realization: this is a great exercise in staying cheerful. I mean, it’s great to have a better, healthier, non-junk-filled body… but if you don’t have a smile and a cheery disposition to go with it, then what’s the point right?

And yet another realization: talk about diets is probably boring, so I should stop now. 😆

(Psst! One last: So far… I’ve lost 3 pounds! Woohoo!!)

In one of my first posts for this year, I made a list of resolutions that I was hoping to accomplish this year. With the first month of the year over and the second one beginning, I decided to revisit the list to do a little self-evaluation and see whether I’ve been living up to my… ahem… lofty goals. 😆

To my utter delight, I realized just a few minutes ago, while re-reading them, that I actually have not done a bad job so far! 8)

(When you bite your nails in nervous anticipation waiting for your report card to come, and you realize all the butterflies in your stomach can stop flying around in there cos you’re doing okay after all–isn’t that always a cool thing? 🙂 )

So let’s see:

1. Make a layout a day – did pretty okay with this the whole January, thanks a whole lot to LOAD. (I need to kick myself into scrapping mode this time, with LOAD over… before I fall into my bad scrapping-procrastinating habit again!)

2. Lose 10-20 pounds – ha! We shall see on this one, but at least I’m making some effort towards achieving this in the next few weeks.

3. Give out at least one freebie a week – hmmm. This needs some working on. I promise! 😉

4. Consider having Lasik surgery done – I get an A on this one! Jumped in with both feet, a wish, and a prayer, and now all that’s left to do is go religiously to the post-op appointments for the entire year, and make a layout on this! 😉

5. Clean and organize stuff in our home storage areas – okay, I get a total F on this one. 😳

6. Clean and organize my compy stuff – have been working on this (slaving is more like it). I’m a far way from “done” but baby steps are good, baby! 😆

7. Learn some more, play some more, pray some more – yep, some here and there… after all, I wouldn’t want this particular struggle ever to end (too much fun, learning, playing, and praying!)

8. Stop pushing things to the last minute – okay, if any of you have the secret pill to swallow that makes this achievable, send an entire bottle my way, please! 😆

Awww, shucks!!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you my sweet friends, for your warm, warm fuzzies that you left in your comments here, and on our playground message board, and on the 4shared site… THANK YOU!!!

Your sharing in my joy over the Oscraps challenge touches my heart in ways that words cannot express. Wish I could hire Aladdin to take me on a carpet ride to you all so that I could give you enormous hugs!!! But since I can’t do that, give yourselves a kajillion hugs for me, please? 🙂

Thank you. You know I love you, right? 😉

Oh, here’s a HUG!

A bear hug from me! 😀

Here’s the second set of the Bear Hug mini kit…

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LivEdesigns Bear Hug Set2 Preview

This comes with a humongous hug from me to you 🙂 … plus 3 textured papers (2 patterned, 1 solid), a felt-embroidered heart (with gratitude to hawksmont, whose designs and generosity inspire me, I have named this heart HawkHeart 😀 ), and a chipboard journaling tag… Hope you like this set and can find some use for it! You can download it here. Thank you in advance for the love you leave on my blog!!! Loooove having your warm fuzzies right here! 🙂

Funny, again

My 5-year-old J does it again! This guy cracks me up big time.

Yesterday, we were having our usual chats (we talk all the time, have you noticed? Must be the shared love for words, haha)

Suddenly, out of the blue, he says: “Mama, can you please, please, please get me a large meatball?”

Hmmmm. I’m thinking, okay, where did this thought come from? But I say, “Sure, honey, let’s get you that. But for what?”

He says: “We’ll get A (his eldest brother) to tie a string on it, because he’s really tall. Then he can hold it while I punch, punch, punch it, and then I’ll become really strong, and my friends are going to call me lean-mean-muscle-machine, and I can defeat all the bad guys!!!”

I swear, this is the very first time in my whole life that I have ever heard of a meatball being associated with a punching bag. 😆

This excites me!

I was just over at my dear friend Jessica’s blog the other day, where she placed a link to Shutterfly for her own little ABC book that she created for her son Elliott. I loved the ABC-book templates that she created (and that she’s giving away for free!!! FREE!!! Gotta loooove this woman!). Seeing what she did with it for her dear little son totally inspired me even more to create my own for my… wait a minute, I have 5 sons… omg, does this mean I need to create 5 ABC books??? 😆

Go ahead, hop on over to Jes’ blog, and see what a fantabulous book she has created! I’ll bet you all my little fingers and toes that you’ll want to create your own too! 🙂

And if you do (and you know you do 😉 ), here’s what can come in real handy when you start off on that exciting adventure!

Join me! Let’s do the ABC!!! 😆

EDIT: The templates come “free” on Shutterfly (which is where you go if you want to create the ABC book), and then you have the option to order the printed book from Shutterfly (it’s 20% off too for an 8×8 book)! Just wanted to clarify that in case my excited post was misleading… 😉

Word for the Month

Have you thought of yours yet? I’ve figured out mine for this month: JOY.

n. – intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness;  the source or object of such pleasure and satisfaction

v. – to enjoy; to take great pleasure; to fill with ecstatic happiness, pleasure or satisfaction

[ from the French joie, and Latin gaudium, which means to rejoice… which reminds me of a wonderful encyclical I read, called Gaudium et Spes, or Joy and Hope ]

related words: cheer up; gladden; jump for joy; walk on air; delight; pleasure; positive stimulus; excitement; jubilation; high spirits; exuberance

Wow! So much to be joyful about! And those related words make me want to use them as jumping points for lots of everyday ordinary things!

What’s your word for the month?

To my friends in Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee

Are you all okay? I just read in the papers this morning about the twisters that hit last Tuesday evening! Please know that I am praying for your safety and that you are all okay, and I would love it if you could leave a note in my comments here to let me know that you are well and doing fine! Hugs and prayers to you!!!

You Ask, You Get

is what my friend Veevs always tells me. 😆

So… let’s take her motto (which makes a whole lotta sense) and apply it to us, why don’t we?

I have so many ideas swirling in my head for freebies, but I do want to make sure that they’ll be items that you can actually use and will want to use. (Yeah, we have our hard drives filling up, don’t we?, so it’s always good to give what will deserve the space on those sleek and sexy hard drives 😆 )

Would you want…

1. More papers

2. More elements – which ones are your favorite and go-to items?

3. Themed kits – which themes?

4. Templates, Quickpages, Ploppers?

So help me out please: let me know what you want? Would love to hear… go ahead, click on that Comments button and let me know! Thank you in advance!

Okay then… Busy day today, gotta attend to some things related to a trip I’m making in June 😉 — so I must be off for now… but you know I’ll be back soon, right? Thanks for visiting! Have a happy day, my sweeties!

WOOHOO!!! Happy, happy day!!!

Remember the more-than-140-merged-layers layout I posted a while back, the one I had absolute fun working on, and was totally absorbed in for close to 24 hours? It was an adventure in thinking outside the box for me, and I really, really had the time of my life with it (felt very close to oil painting, which I haven’t done in more than a year… except with this layout, there were no brushes to clean after, no lingering smell of linseed oil or turpentine, no mess to clean up… perfect! Or… maybe it’s safe to say, I’m just hopelessly, digitally addicted. 😆 )

Anyway, did I say that that layout was the answer to a designer spotlight challenge featuring the Nature Glow kit of Annie Manning (aka Paint the Moon) at Oscraps?

The funny thing is, the only 2 challenges I have ever joined are ones that my girlfriends over at jessicasprague.com mention on the threads and rally about joining. I always welcome a chance to play with my friends; it’s like someone says “Come, let’s go on a trip to Disneyland and ride the scariest rides!” Who could resist grabbing the chance to have fun with friends, right? And Lisa–who normally handles our PSF challenges every Friday (except now she’s on multiple creative teams so the rest of us have taken over coming up with challenges… but I digress)–had included the Oscraps challenge as her PSF challenge for the week.

So anyway, I was checking the threads a week after to see who had won (always nice to know, so we can leave some love and congratulatory whoops), but there was no word on the discussion threads. After a while, I got totally caught up with the NWR course moderation, the LOAD challenges, and the 2peas photography course–not to mention real life (ha!)–that I stopped checking.

My friend Veevs would ask me periodically, “So who won?” Then I would remember to check, and I would tell her “no mention on the threads yet.” Finally, she got tired of waiting and told me she would email them to find out. Okay, so originally she pushed me to email them, but I am a shy guy (really! I am!  >heehee<  ), so my dear friend, total go-getter, sent an email.

This morning, as is my usual routine, I opened my inbox, and first thing I see is Veevs’ email to me telling me OMG OMG OMG YOU WON!!!!

I almost fell off my chair!

So I went to the link she had in her email, and realized that there was a private message for me waiting in my inbox at Oscraps from Annie herself (a totally sweet email!!!), and okay, here is where I confess to my duhhhh-ness that I never did think of checking in there. ( I was totally not expecting to win. There were MANY great great layouts submitted for the challenge on the Oscraps gallery, and among my favorites were those made by my girlfriends over at the playground!  Have I mentioned that I never dare to think I could win in any challenge that I join? Well, this was no exception.)

OScraps Email

But, dang, it feels good. Yeah, it does. 😀 😀 😀

And you know what’s even better? Knowing that all my friends over at our playground were so happy for me. Now THAT really matters big-time to me. I love my JS family, I really do!

A brief aside: I remember when I was 9 years old, I told my dad I wanted to join a drawing challenge for Sanrio (the Japanese company that makes Hello Kitty, Little Twinstars–which was my personal favorite back then, Melody, and those other cutesy totally-Japanese characters). What we had to do was imagine what kind of birthday party the Little Twinstars would have, draw it, and submit the drawing. The winner would receive a personalized certificate with a handwritten note from the Twinstars’ designer (big thing then), as well as a full year’s subscription to the English version of the Sanrio newsletter/magazine and some other stuff that I can’t remember.

My dad was iffy about my joining, and told me, “Fine, if you really want to join, go ahead. But please do not expect to win, because there are many joining that contest, and if you set up yourself wanting to win, and you lose, you just might be really disappointed.” I found that funny because even then, I never considered the possibility that I would win. I just wanted to draw! 😆

Long story made short: I did join. I submitted my drawing, which had a swimming pool (something I had always wanted to have in my backyard as a kid, but which we of course didn’t have) and everything else around it. Then I promptly forgot about it.

There was a party where we could buy Sanrio stuff while waiting for the announcement of the winners (great marketing ploy! haha!), and here’s the totally unexpected addition to my take-home goodie bag from the party!

Twinstars Certificate

And if you want to a general idea of the birthday pool (totally pixelly, hahaha!) here it is:

My Entry

I have no idea why I won. Till now. Maybe the passion that went into doing it pulled all the good vibes? 😆

Who knows, but I loooved getting the Strawberry Magazine in the mail with its Japanese postmark every month! 😛 Just as I loved getting the surprise email from Veevs and Annie this morning!

Funny Nights

My five year old son, J, is the funniest thing on earth. He cracks me up about 24 times each day. Maybe it’s because he talks a lot, and he verbalizes whatever’s on his mind; you know what they say: “kids say the darndest things”.

Well, yesterday evening, while we were chatting, he told me,

“Mom, you know, I really like my friends. We pretend we’re Zoids or Power Rangers.” (pause) “We play rough games, and it’s lots of fun!”

Me: “That sounds like fun, alright!”

He: (another pause) “We don’t play with girls. They don’t like playing rough games.” (and this, in a sing-songy voice): “All they want to do is study and study and study… and play with dolls. Ugh!”


Got me thinking: amazing how the difference between boys and girls is apparent even at such an early age?

And there’s more:

He: “But you know, my friend M (a girl classmate of his), she’s coooooool.”

Me: “Yeah? Why is that?”

He: “Cos she likes pretending she’s a Power Ranger too! She can play our games! She joins us!”

Aha. A typical boy’s buddy, she. Yup, those girls are precious. And in my limited experience, sometimes it’s precisely that total lack of self-consciousness and ability to relate with boys’ interests that gets them these girls the best boys. 😛

And yet another precious nugget:

Tonight, J tells me he wants to be a policeman when he grows up, “so I can fight the bad guys.”

He then launches into a whole description of what a bad guy is:

“He steals apples, Mom!!! Steals them! And he fools people! He says ‘Hey, paint this wall and I’ll give you candy.’ So the guy paints the wall, but after, the bad guy doesn’t ever give him the candy he promised. He lies! He lies, Mom!!!” (This description comes complete with wide-open eyes and look of disbelief and shock on his face).

Then he says “I’m going to need partners. Do you know who my partners are going to be?” and of course he gives the names of his two best buddies. He then goes into many details about how they’re going to punch and apply ninja moves on the bad guy (insert kapow, baboom, ching, and all other sound effects you can think of in place of the verbs… sample: “I’m going to kapow him, and then R’s going to kaching him…”)

He pauses long enough for me to say, “But honey, can you please consider another job, perhaps a safer one, where I don’t have to worry whether someone will hurt you while you’re fighting them?”

To which he replies, “Oh no, Mom, don’t worry, I’m not going to get hurt. My friends and I are gonna practice our moves.” (a thoughtful pause) “And we’re going to get M as a partner too!”

M is another girl classmate–not the “cool” one mentioned above–whom my son is less than fond of, because he says she’s a goody-goody. HAHAHA!!! So this girl classmate and my son are often at odds with each other; for some reason I can’t understand, they have a knack for getting on each other’s nerves.

So I am totally surprised when he tells me he’s getting her to join his posse.

I say, “Wow! How fun! You’re going to make M your partner too! Great!”

And he says without missing a beat, “Yeah, cos you know why? She’s really good at nagging! So she’s going to nag nag nag the bad guy and he’ll get defeated that way!”


(Trivia time: nagging is taboo in our house. My sons are so used to hearing me say, “I only say it once, okay?” And I don’t normally result to throwing threats when things don’t get done, but when I do, my threat is always, “Do you want me to turn into a nagger?” A very effective threat, too! 😉 Ah, boys! )

Freebie, Long Delayed

Now one thing that HAS been nagging at me is my long-delayed freeb!!! I am soo soo sorry for the delay in uploading the promised “companion kit” to the Valentine card plopper I gave a few days ago…

I wanted to upload it sooner, but I also wanted to add a few more items that were not part of the card plopper. Unfortunately, I was not happy with how they were coming out. So I tweaked and tweaked and played and played, and finally I came up with something that I felt you might be happy with. So… I hope you are! 😀

Here’s Set 1 (of 2 sets) of the Bear Hug mini-kit:

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LivEdesigns Bear Hug Mini-Kit Set 1

Doing this freeb had me venturing outside my “design” box once more. Probably fitting, as Adventure was my word of the month for January… (which reminds me, have you decided on our Word of the Month for February??? I need to think about mine!). So this mini-kit is totally a result of playing around with my usual design styles. 😕 I hope you like it, but do tell me (gently now, softly, kindly) if you don’t like it, okay? 😆

What you’ll be downloading HERE is 3 textured papers, one that’s tame, another one that’s a bit on the wild side (done especially with Veevs in mind), and another one that has a grungy flower print on it. (Gratitude for the designers whose commercial use items I used in coming up with some of the items overflows in my TOU 🙂 ). There’s also the bear sticker (pretty large, about 8″–feel free to resize it according to your needs!), and a stitched wordart…

Just a few notes about the stitched wordart: on the card plopper, and in the download, you’ll find the quote is one straight line. In case you want to break it up into phrases (as seen on the preview), you can just cut and paste it as you wish (CTRL-X and CTRL-V), depending on how you intend to use it on your layout. Also, I don’t recommend that you apply drop shadows to it, because it already comes with its own drop-shadow and bevelling so that it mimics being sewn right onto your paper. Having said that, you are absolutely free to apply drop shadows if that’s what rocks your boat! 😀

Alright, I still have TONS of stuff to attend to (won’t bore you with the details, haha!) but I really wanted to put up this long-delayed freebie.

Thanks for the love you leave here, and have a very happy day/noon/night!!! Catch you later!