Monday, January 19, 2015

My Finished December Daily

Hi everyone! I thought it would be a good time to share my first ever December Daily with you :) I had a great time doing it this year and I think I stayed on top of it fairly well (for the most part!). I got the whole thing finished up in the first week of January, which I think is pretty good.  Of course taking pictures and getting it up on the blog took quite a bit longer ;) Here are a few of the things that I learned that helped me out.  I'd love it if you'd share your suggestions too, so that I can steal them for next year ;)

1. Editing

Editing my photos in a timely manner was really helpful because it made it simple to place photo orders.  Every night, or every other night if I was feeling lazy, I'd edit my favorite pictures of the day using Snapseed.  Sometimes I'd add text or a little story using Phonto.  Typical days only had 1-3 photos so this took a very short amount of time.  I know photoshop is how you *should* do it, but I don't own it nor do I know how to actually use it, so this was easiest for me.  It also helped being able to do it on my phone without having to transfer photos to my computer and sit at my desk to edit.  This way was quick and easy.

2. Dropbox

I love Dropbox! I use it all the time, especially when Robb takes pictures using his fancy DSLR and I want the digital images.  He just uploads them right to our Dropbox and I can access them on my computer- easy peasy.  After editing my photos I put them all straight in the Dropbox from my phone so I wouldn't have to bother sorting through mounds of photos to remember which ones I wanted in the final album.  The edited and chosen photos were all in one place.

3. Photo ordering

I don't print at home.  I would love to though! Do any of you do this? It seems very expensive to do and I just don't know much about it so if you have any tips on a great quality at-home printer please share.  Anyways, I wound up placing 3 photo orders through Persnickety Prints to get my pictures printed.  I like Persnickety's quality, but the main reason I chose them was that they offer LOTS of print sizes- include 6x8 and 3x4, which both fit into the pocket pages that I was using.  I placed one order on Day 8, one on Day 17 and one on Day 26.  This split it up so I had a little over a week between orders, which gave me time to finish the previous weeks before ordering more prints.  I would just take all the pictures that were in the dropbox, upload to Persnickety, order and boom, done! It worked really well for me.  I think if I had waited until the end of the month to order everything I would have forgotten some sizes I wanted, etc.

4. Take a few random pictures

There were a few days that I just didn't have a picture to take or an interesting story to tell ("Today we hung out and watched TV all day because I was being a lazy mom......").  I hate not having a picture for each day, which might be a personal quirk of mine, so I took some random photos around the house.  Things like crafts that Charlie made, Christmas decorations, etc.  Those photos weren't specific to a date so they filled in the empty blocks in my album.

5.  Only do it when you have time

I only worked on my album maybe 1-2 days per week, plus 5 minutes per day editing photos.  It was totally manageable. Once I got my photo order in I would spend an hour here or there adding them to the album, but because I did my foundation pages beforehand this went by pretty quickly.  I was worried about the time commitment initially but it really wasn't so bad after all.

6. Get your kids involved

As you can imagine, Charlie was very interested in all of the fun embellishments and stickers that were on my crafting table all month.  He also really liked my book- he started to understand that he had to smile in pictures "because I'm putting it in the December book" which was helpful, too!  I ended up making him his own little December book as a way to get him involved (and off my back lol).  I let him use a few of my embellishments that I knew I wouldn't use and the photo's that didn't fit in any of my spreads.  He loved it and it was so cute! I even have a page in my December Daily all about Charlie's December Daily haha.

I loved the laid-back December Daily approach and will definitely be doing it again next year!  I have been SO SO impressed by all of the beautiful December Dailies that I have seen from others so far, they're truly stunning.  I mean, how do people get such gorgeous, brightly lit photos of their houses? It's like they live in all white rooms made of windows in a permanently sunny climate haha. So mine is a bit less stunning and a bit more average, but I like it just the same ;)  Warning: PICTURE HEAVY!





































Please do share your tips, tricks, and links to your December Dailies as well- I'd love to see them!!  Next project- a new 2015 Blog Header!  Once I make one that is, lol....


Friday, January 9, 2015

Freezer Meals in the New Year

Hi friends! Happy New Year!  We had a very nice and laid back New Year this year (pretty much every year really).  We all got dinner at Chili's and Charlie got to stay up until 9pm! We did an early count down with him and then I fell asleep at 11pm so Robb did another early count down for me haha. He was the only one milling around by the time midnight rolled around but he had already done 2 fake count downs so he didn't bother with the real one haha.  Anyways, boring old January is a perfect time for stocking up your freezer with freezer meals so I thought I'd share some of my favorite past links for freezer meal tips and recipes.  And don't forget to check out my new book, if you haven't already! It's chock full of tips and ideas for making and storing freezer meals PLUS over 50 bulk freezer meal recipes.  WIN WIN!  You can buy it as an e-Book from myself for $7.99 (see PayPal button below) or the full color hard copy book from Amazon for $21.99.  OK here are my favorites- enjoy :)



5 Tips and Tricks for Freezer Meals (a guest post I did for Blissful and Domestic)



Read all about my new book, Make Ahead Meals: Freezer Meal Recipes that Make Dinner Quick and Easy and check out my Top Ten Facts about the book, too :)







Guide for 3 Days of Freezer Meal Cooking (3 days= 21 meals)
Day 1- Chicken Meals

Day 2- Meatloaf Mix Meals

Day 3- Shrimp Meals

OK everyone, get to cooking!! I've got some really fun recipes to test out this year.  I have the Momofuku cookbook and am very excited to make David Chang's ramen broth (which freezes very well, I hear).  I spent some of my Christmas giftcards buying up all of the unique ingredients like Benton's bacon, konbu, nori, bonito, etc.  I'm also going to be testing out some Chipotle copycat recipes I've found in an attempt to cut down on my Chipotle addiction ;)  It should be a great, and very tasty, year!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Top Ten Layouts of 2014

Well, I have to say- this wasn't a very difficult job.  2014 was NOT the year of scrapbooking that I had hoped it would be, I think I made under 20 layouts all year.  There was also a sprinkling of mini albums and cards, but I'm still way under what I usually make in a year.  So that's kind of a bummer   :( I did pretty well up until the middle of the year, but then I got busy with schoolwork and having fun at the beach, etc.  I don't regret any of the time I spent out of my craft room enjoying fun activities or anything, but I do hope to find more time for crafting this year.  Here's hoping!

Here are my 10 favorite layouts of the last year- I hope you enjoy!  If you'd like to see previous years you can find them by clicking the links: 2011, 2012, 2013











Have a great New Years everyone!!  See you in 2015 :)