Two Christmas' ago I ordered my Christmas cards through Shutterfly.  Ever since then they occasionally send out a coupon code for a "free project".   Today I got a code for a free 8 x 8 photo book.  I decided to take the opportuntiy and begin documenting our New England trip last year.  1st stop, Williamsburg.  I just tried to limit it to pictures that reminded us of our favorite memories.   If you haven't tried Shutterfly yet, I've always been happy with the quality of their work.   And everyone likes freebees, right.

                            They even gave me a embed code to publish it here.

Click here to create your own Shutterfly photo book.


The Park

 On my recent to visit the Illinois grandkids we tried to squeeze in all the fun we could for the two weeks I was there.   Leaving 90 degrees plus weather I landed in St. Louis to 55 degrees.  It was a great respite to have  50 to 70 degrees the first few days.  One of the top  things on my list to do was to visit
 the local park in town for a little picnic lunch then play.   I didn't think I'd be seeing temperatures that low for awhile and I wanted to take every avantage of it.

                                                   warning!!!  picture heavy post............

Brody is a climber.    He will climb anything he can reach.

a little reminder about park rules....  :-)

tall swirling slides are the best

so I thought I'd have a try at it

it's been quite a while since I tried to get myself down one of those slides

the smile is relief I didn't get stuck.  ha

this little peanut of mine somehow manages to play in the dirt without getting dirty

this picture was taken about a week before his second birthday
just love his baby curls

they really love each other so much

they were so excited to see this baby bird on the ground

a new pet maybe.....

when mommy explained that the baby bird was wild and couldn't come home

I guess you can see how that went over.

Makenzie wanted her Daddy to come climb the 75 foot tree to put it back
in it's nest, Mommy told her that she'd call the park ranger to take care of it.
They both worried about that baby bird for days.

Kelly lives in a small town in the lower part of Illinois.
The town sets in the middle of farmland and their 
city park was just beautiful.  Of course my first choice would
be to have them around me all the time.  But since that isn't possible,
 they have choosen a lovely place to raise their babies. 

                                              Remembering to be greatful for:

                                                            703.  curly blonde hair
                                                                704.  small towns
                                                                  705.  city parks
                                                   706.  children wanting to rescue animals
                                   707.  a few days of 60 degree weather for this Florida girl
                                                         708.  answered prayers
                                                        709.  texts with best friends
                              710.  a movie night/sleepover with our first grandchild, Taylor

         711.   blog/facebook friends who go out of their way to send urgent prayer requests
                                                          (Thank you Darlene)
                                         712.  lessons I learned from the book "Bloom"

                 Joining Ann's place for Multitudes on Mondays.


Summer Plans

              I can't believe we're in the middle of June already.  Summer seems to be flying by already.
           I just got back from a two week visit to see the Illinois grandkids (and their parents of course).

          Got alot of hugs, lap time reading books, tea parties, swinging and sliding at the park, back 
           yard swimming and sprinklers, birthday party, shopping,  bubble baths, lullabys and of course a 
           good amount  of Dora tv time.    It's really hard for this grandmother to have two of her
                           grandkids live in another state.  Don't let anyone tell you any different.
                                                   So I try to make the most out of every visit.

                                                      Believe it or not I took over 500 pictures.
                                            I can see lots of posts coming up in the future.   ha

                                                                but for now ......................



on our busy summer list:

having Dylan and Taylor for a long weekend so their parents can get a much
needed vacation

trip the beach for a week in July

trip to Illinois again in July for Makenzies birthday

big plans for August

hoping time slows down so I can enjoy each minute





Time is going by so fast this summer already.
My nieces came over for a sleepover
in May (has it already been a month).
And since it was right after Hermela's birthday
we made a little celebration.

Then it was time for a little sleepover tv marathon.

Sweetest nieces in the world.

And what's better for a sleepover marathon than American Girl movies.
    It was unanimous.  Samantha was our favorite, but
Kit and Molly were a very close second and I'm sure 
Felicity would of been if we had time to see it.
We love our American Girl movies.

Then it was on to pool time.   They're both little fish. 
(I wonder if it's cool to still call them little since there 8 and 10)

And of course, everything's a contest.  



Hair waterfalls.  :-)

Loving instagram

We also got in a little craft time.  We made journals.
They are quite the little artists.

And what's a sleepover without a little trip for ice-cream.

Thanks for all the fun Rahel and Hermela.  Aunt Debbie loves her
sleepovers with my two cuties.


Art Swap Blog Hop

I've mentioned recently that I have taken two online art courses by the talented and precious teacher, Jeanne Oliver.   I know you've heard of her.  Isn't she the best.  Her sweet and encouraging manner made for rewarding, funny and informative courses and I feel very blessed to have been a part of her first class.  Thanks Jeanne.  I don't think I can do justice to the  gratitude I want to express about they way I have been transformed by your words.

Check out the two links below to find out more about the classes.  A summer Creatively Made course begins next week.   I would encourage anyone who loves to create to take this class.

Creatively Made 

Building a Creatively Made Business.

One of the best things about the classes is the support group you're connected to with the other artists who want to use the gifts that God gave them.  They are such an encouragement and wealth of information to those (like me) who are just starting out.  And that brings me to the reason for this post.

Stacey Curry (one of the members in our class) had a great idea to set up an Art Swap for  members who wanted to participate.  Most of the people participating already sell their art.  I haven't begun selling my "art" yet (and I still struggle to call it art)  but my hope is to begin soon so I decided to join in on the fun.  Thanks Stacey for all the hard work in coming up with the idea and organizing it.  You rock!

The artist that got my name was Renee Ortiz.  I feel very blessed.  She is such a talented artist and I absolutely love the piece I received.  It's an oil pastel on plastic setting on a easel.  An ORIGINAL!!!   It was inspired by a series of photographs from a trip she took there with her family seven years ago.

Her pieces will soon be available in prints, notecards and originals.  She paints teeny tiny to gigantic in most mediums.

She attended Otis/Parson in Los Angeles and Loyola Marymont.  Her plan is to get a Master's in Art Therapy one day and hopes her work glorifies God with what she paints, using the gifts he gave her.

It is beautiful and feel very fortunate that I was the one who received her art.  

One of the "gifts" that I am exploring (and working hard to learn) is photography.
And since I'm still in the learning process, I wanted to do justice
to her art so I took a picture in natural lighting and indoor flash.

I've never been to Venice and have always dreamed of going someday. 
It was perfect for me.

Below is a list of all of the artists who participated in the Art Swap Blog Hop:



One of my love languages

I love flowers.  I love floral prints, photos, art.  You name it, I love it.

Wanting to remember my Mother's Day flowers from Mike this year.

And the photo below is for Nancy D. 
The gift you gave me in March for my retirement is still alive!!!!
Even though most of the credit (okay, all of the credit) goes to Mike.
You see, even though I love flowers, I don't  exactly have a green thumb.
More like black to be exact.
I have dreams though......
 One day of having a garden.
Now that I have time, it could happen.  ;-)