Welcome to my coffee shop in the cyber neighborhood!

Yes, I’ve been gone a while…a long while. I’ve had some other physical and subsequent mental issues. I don’t really want to talk about them. It enhances the stress and potential depression. I read an article that explains the MIA from blogging probably better than I could.

Isolation: When Our Disease Makes Us Withdraw

So whether it’s starting over or
just continuing like I was never gone…

Welcome to my coffee shop in Cyber Space
Try the pumpkin spice scones!

Contact Nani at

Friday, April 30, 2010

Final Exam Happy Dance

YAY ME!! I got an “A” on my final for my HTML class. If I totally bombed and missed half the requirements on my project, which I didn’t, I’ll still pass with a high “C.” Now, my main objective in school is to pass my classes, because the bottom line is that perspective employers won’t care what my grades are or where I learned stuff, just did I pass the certification test. Still, I’ve always liked educational life on the Dean’s List! So, yeah, I do know that as long as I get 76% or more on that project, I’ll get my “A.” The last time I had to work as hard as I have in this class, I did NOT get the “A.” I still think that one was one of the best classes I took for my undergrad degree. But I’m almost a decade and a half older now. I want the “A.” **smiles**

If you’d like to see my website, an ad for Journal Camp, it’s posted here: Journal Camp Project. It was never anything more than a few files and code written in notepad! I can see places where I know I lost points because of little things. Every page has a home button at the bottom, but not at the top, I have two extra files in the folder that shouldn’t be there. But considering it’s my first code-only web page, I think I did okay!

Journal Camp is going really well! If you haven’t checked it out, there are links to some really nice benchmark layouts and some very good reasons that “campers” want to journal more or better. I’ve also added the link to the pdf file to the top of the post. That’s where the pdf link will be for the 5 tutorial weeks. This week, everyone who left a comment will get the posting bonus, The Look of Love Quick Pages by Digitalegacies Designs. Starting next week there will be more layouts because a layout will be required to get the prizes!

Oh yeah, if you left a comment without an email, you need to email me to let me know your address so I can send your bonus!

So, today is my scrappin’ journal campin’ day. That means my plans are to scrap a few pages and get the posts ready for the rest of Journal Camp. I figure that’s more like the weekend starts now. I need to make a store run, out of hair conditioner, but it’s a beautiful and sunny, albeit windy, day. The Camaro is in the garage and blocked in and it’s definitely a Camaro day. I’ll have to decide later if I feel like playing musical cars or if I’ll take the Buick for a short run. I’ll think about that for the afternoon.

For now, I’m going to set about enjoying this sunny day and the freedom, from school stuff anyway, I have until June, when I start my dedicated prep for the Network+!

Happy iNSD eve!

Playing With Fire

Burned House of Night P.C. & Kristin Cast

Some time ago I told you about Tempted, the new book in the House of Night series by PC and Kristin Cast. Well, now it’s time for the seventh book in the House of Night Series. The new book is Burned!

The House of Night series is a series follows teens going through the changes as they become vaampyres. They are written books for teens, but I find them personally appealing too! You can read sample chapters by listening to a chapter or read the first chapter

Zoey Redbird, the main character, is involved in some dark times at the House of Night with her best friend, Steveie Rae, and Aphrodite. What an awesome tease! I can’t clearly make it out if Aphrodite will be on the good side or bad side when they story ends from descriptions, but she starts out bad!

I have to admit myself that I’ve always loved books and shows about vampyres and I’m definitely talking to my nieces again about this series! Also, I’ll send them to the site to check it out because, in true music passionate teen-fashion, they can download the Burned song free
! Heck it’s a good song, I might do that too!

This is definitely a book, whole book series, worth checking out!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Journal Camp - Pre-Camp Meeting

Download this post in .pdf

I hope you’re excited about Journal Camp! I know I am! I remember on my first day of trade school back in 1990, Specs Howard, THE Specs Howard, founder and the man for whom the broadcast school was named, came in to meet our class, as he did all new classes on the first day. He told us that we’d all be standing up and introducing ourselves to the class and telling us why we’re here. You could hear the audible gasps. Standing up and doing public speaking? On the first day??

Specs smiled and asked everyone to think about the feeling in their stomachs the moment he said we’d be addressing the class. Then he said to think about the feeling in your stomach as you are nearing the top of the first hill on a rollercoaster. It’s the same feeling, just the choice of whether it’s negative or positive. You don’t really know if you were nervous or excited until you know how it turned out.

That was the infamous day that I stood up in front of the classmates I hadn’t really met yet and the founder of the school and said, “I’m here because this is an 8-month course and plumbing school is 9.” I got a good laugh and made some good companions for the next 8 months that day. I guess I’d have to say I was excited, not nervous.

Ever since that time, I remember that story when I think I might be nervous and remember that I probably just don’t realize I’m excited. So, for the next 5 weeks, I’m going to play the expert and give tips on journaling in the hopes that I can help people journal better, more naturally. I really hope I’ll find out later that I was excited. For now I’ll maintain that I am!

Attending Journal Camp

Good journaling is important for paper or digital Scrapbooking and I hope that you won’t be scared away by an internet blog written by someone who does digital scrapbooking if you paper-scrap. I was a paper scrapper before I went digital too! Which type of Scrapbooking is better is a personal choice. My biggest personal reason for preferring digital is that I love to journal and my husband will proofread my typing. He can’t even read my handwriting or printing. I’ve never had exemplary penmanship, even when I did calligraphy it looked very good for a fifth grader, but I was in college! So these tips and exercises are for journaling, regardless of the medium you use to scrap. The text and freebies are done off a flash drive traveling between my Windows and Mac computers too. I really am trying to welcome everyone!

There are two ways to attend Journal Camp. You can come here to the Chronicles of Nani and read the lessons at Journal Camp every Tuesday or whenever you have time during the week or you can have “home delivery.” Home delivery means that you can send me an email at chroniclesofnani@gmail.com and the pdf file of each week’s class will be emailed to you on Tuesday. That pdf file will be downloadable at The Chronicles if you want a copy to keep for reference too. Regardless of how you prefer to get your information, you’ll still need to stop by to leave a link to your layouts to get the participation bonuses and be eligible for the weekly drawings. For paper scrappers, you can upload a scan or photo of your layout to a photo sharing site like photo bucket or flickr and leave a link in the comments to your file there. The freebies are digital products, but you can use them for hybrid projects or print them and use them in your paper layouts too.

There will be two freebies every week to help with your weekly pages. There will also be a participation bonus for everyone who leaves a comment with their layout link and the random generator will choose a couple of comments each week to win a gift certificate from one of our fabulous sponsor designers!

You don’t have to formally sign up or post links for the exercises. You don’t even have to let me know who you are or that you’re reading along. I hope you will though. That makes it more fun!

Why is journaling important?

People like to know the details, maybe that’s the gossip syndrome, maybe it’s a desire to be part of something, to have an “in,” to really know what’s going on. Journaling on your layouts fills in the holes. Let me share a fun story about filling in the holes!

I have a wonderful treasure. My Grandma told me that when she passed, I could have and read the love letters she and my Grandfather traded when he was in the Pacific in World War 2. She said I couldn’t read them until she was gone because they were very personal. They were private and special to her. I understood that completely. There are things, dreamy things, in my personal journal that I don’t want to share, not now, but will be my heirs’ to read at a later time.

So, I have Grandma’s letters and I’ve started to read some of them. Grandma did some editing! One letter from my Grandfather said, “I hope you wear…I like it when you wear that.” Grandma had used scissors and cut out the “…” There are words or whole paragraphs cut out of other letters too. She didn’t tell me there were pieces missing. Now I wonder, when did she do the cutting? When she got them? After my Mother was able to read? After she told me I could one day have them? Grandma and I were close and I looked up and with an impish grin said, “Okay Grandma, very funny. From now on when there is something cut out, I’ll just fill it in with “red leather corset!”

See why you don’t want to leave holes? I don’t know if my Grandmother ever had a red leather corset, but whatever it was, it was scandalous enough to want it never to be known!

The thing is, if you don’t answer questions in your scrapbook pages, someone will fill in the blanks, right or wrong. That’s human nature. Putting a picture of someone without identifying who they are, why they are there or what they’re doing, leaves the reader to make up something to fit them into the book they are looking at. You can be sitting in the next room and they might still make something up rather than ask.

The great thing about a scrapbook is that someone can look at it and share your memories when you aren’t there. They don’t have to look at something longer than they want to and can stay on a page they really like. It’s also your opportunity to tell your story. You put a lot of effort into your scrapbooks, paper or digital. Pass the whole picture of your world down and make your memories memorable!

Class Supplies

This list is a list of things you might find useful to have for Journal Camp. Participation is up to you. You can stop by every week and participate in the exercises, you can post a link to your layouts, but you don’t have to, or you can read along and snag the freebies to study the tips at your leisure. Heck, if you are totally comfortable with your journaling and don’t want or feel the need to read the tips, you can just snag the freebies too.

For Journal Camp, it’s a good idea to have:
  • A purse or briefcase-size notebook and pen or pencil
  • Photos to scrap
  • One story or event you want to remember that you don’t have photos for
  • Supplies to make your pages, either paper or digital (A scanner or digital camera if you’re paper-scrapping and want to share!)

Your notebook can be any size and can be plain or very YOU. Everyone knows whose book The Chocolate Journal is!

The notebook is not something you have to have as part of Journal Camp, but it is something that I personally find key in my journaling. I don’t leave home without my notebook. Correct that. I managed to somehow forget it last Christmas when we went to Connecticut and I ended up buying a, very expensive, steno pad at a truck stop! Yes, maybe I’m a little dependent on my notebook. In my notebook, I jot down notes about my trips, dinner or lunch with family, even just things that strike my mind while running errands. These are all notes for journaling. I may not use all of them, sometimes I write actual full journal entries in my book, other times I keep track of state license plates David and I see on trips and the license plate game can turn into some scrapping and journaling ideas! On our recent trip to Florida, we saw plates from 44 of the United States, 5 Canadian provinces, the Bahamas and Virgin Islands. That will probably be a note on one of the pages from the trip. You know, I haven’t scrapped our honeymoon yet, but I have pages of notes for when I do. I jotted down the names of towns I took photos in, songs on the radio, every now and then a quote, something funny one of us said. A whole day was sometimes a half page of one-liners, things that six months later, I don’t remember until I read the notes. That will add so much to the pages!

Your notebook is just for you. No one ever has to see it, so go with the size and type you’re comfortable carrying around. You’ll be amazed by how much you can remember later by just a few words you jot down “in the moment.’

Here’s a layout that started as one sentence on my notebook, “Google frogs in Willimantic CT.”

Credits: Lily Pond by The Studio Designers

The journaling is done report-style. I just re-told the story about the frogs that I read online after we got home. Without that line in the notebook, I might have had a photo of frog statues that I would have put in a collage of neat stuff in February. I might not have even remembered the name of the town we passed through. Instead, I get a neat story, got to use a kit I really liked and a fun page for my scrapbook!

Photos to scrap

Sometimes there are photos that speak for themselves. We’re not looking for those ones! You’ll want to have some photos that need a few to a lot of words to add to the layout. Our journaling journey will lead us from borrowed words, helper journaling, captioning adding a little more each week to the final project – writing one of those pages where the journaling is the focus. Don’t get excited about that! Hopefully by the end of camp, that will at least be easier, if not totally comfortable! That’s where the one good story comes in. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a no photos story, but it should be a story that you want to add to the photos. My best example for this is my first Christmas with David. I have no photos of Christmas with his family. I was nervous about meeting everyone for the first time and felt truly awkward taking photos. It was a wonderful day and I loved meeting his people. It was a pretty major part of the holiday season that year for me. I couldn’t leave my scrapbook like it never happened. (After all, I ended up marrying the guy!) So, I made a pretty Christmas page with a big ole’ block for journaling and made sure I got all the details I could remember in it. No, I didn’t write them in my notebook at dinner, but I did jot my thoughts and feelings down in the car after!

Scrap Stuff

This is the easy part! The weekly “exercises” will be to create layouts that use the journaling style for the week. Each week we’ll journal a little more on the layouts. That way, even if you never journal, you’ll get a chance to wade a little deeper into the word pool each time until you’re swimming in things to say on your pages! So, you might want to select kits that have nice journal mats, or collect some elements for your layouts that you can journal on.


I worked for a communications training firm when I was in college. The first thing we did when we had a public speaking class was to videotape the professionals in for training giving their introductions at the beginning of the class. Then the students would go into a private room with the speaking coach and talk about their presentation. We’d record each short talk to the class after learning a new speaking skill, that’s what the Journal Camp exercises are designed to do for you. By the end of the one or two day communications workshops, the improvement was remarkable! I hope you feel a great sense of improvement in your journaling at the end of Journal Camp too!

Here are some pre-camp freebies. A few good journal mats might come in handy for camp and the template can be used to make a benchmark for yourself. If you’re putting together a layout on a template with fours spaces for “something,” do you use any of those spaces for journaling or are they all pictures or other elements?

Click previews to go to download
password for both is benchmark

Here is the layout I did with the template:

Credits; kit - Cross My Heart by Skrapper Digitals,
template – Something by Digitalegacies Designs,
Journaling styles – Helper journal;(personal) quote, caption

Benchmark Comments

For your benchmark this week, you can leave a link to a layout you did with the template, a link to a layout you wish you’d put more journaling on or just a comment telling what you really want to learn or improve about your journaling. This week you don’t have to link to a layout, to be eligible for the random drawing, but for the five regular weeks of Journal Camp, your comment will have to have a link to a layout be eligible for prizes.

This week, everyone who leaves a benchmark comment will receive “The Look of Love Quick Page Set” by Digitalegacies Designs.

Two comments that are left by May 3 will be selected by the random generator for bonus prizes from our Journal Camp sponsors!

One comment will win a $6 gift certificate to Ambowife Designs’ store at Digital Scrapbooking Studio.

Another comment will win the full kit, Tomboy, from Miss Edna at Magickal Scraps.

If you would prefer not to put your email address in your comments, please send an email to chroniclesofnani@gmail.com and let me know what your name/ID is in the comments so I can get your bonus to you.

It’s going to be a fun month at Journal Camp! I hope you’ll all join us!

Thank you for joining me at Journal Camp!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Just A Little Nuts

That’s me right now! I only have my final exam left in my class this semester. I think the final project wrapped up pretty nice. David caught a couple of typos this morning and now I’m ready to bundle it and turn it in. The official launch of Journal Camp, well, the pre-camp meeting anyway, will be posted in just a couple of hours. I’m really hoping to be back to normal blogging soon. The end of the semester is tough no matter how many classes because you take the class load that works with your life-load! Next semester, summer, I’m not in any graded classes because I’m devoting that to prep for the Network+ exam. Then 2 classes in the fall with hopefully a part-time entry level networking job. Wish me luck!

My wonderful honey brought me home my long lost and beloved Wildly Cherry M&Ms!!! I thought they’d never bring them back! He called me when he first hem so I could find them at the Kroger near us, where I was shopping the day I got the picture of the Avatar cupcakes for him. Alas, they didn’t have them at out Kroger and he stopped there on the way home from Paws Poker yesterday and brought me some!

By the way, David did make it to the final round, but didn’t finish in the money, but he felt good about how he played and it made a nice donation to Paws and Whiskers. After making it to the finals last time, I didn’t go this time. I found out that, while I refuse to lose on purpose, I get bored when I’m not playing with friends or at least with fun talk at the table. So I stayed home and scrapped. I did catch-up one more week of Java 365!

Vacation Week Java!
Credits: template by MAH Designs,
kit Sunset Beach by MAH Designs

I’ve been busting my scholarly butt on the final project this week, so tomorrow is going to be Nani-Day. Some pain kept me from biking so much last week. Too much sitting in front of school stuff made me stiff, I think! So, I’m going to get back to biking tomorrow and then go out to the fruit and veggie market. I’ve been thinking of making vegetable stew.

Now, I’m thinking a night cap Caribou K-Cup and wait for hubby to come home before sleepy time!

Talk To My Lawyer About That

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of LHA. All opinions are 100% mine.

“I’ll talk to my lawyer.” That’s not something I say often. It’s not something a lot of people say often. It’s more often an idle threat made when we think someone is trying to rip us off.

My mother had a friend who was her lawyer. She had an accident caused by someone else’s negligence and it was big enough to her to sue. She used that same lawyer in the estate issues for my great-grandmother. Now I’m communicating with Grandma’s lawyer for her estate issues in Michigan. I don’t have a lawyer! Maybe it’s time to rethink that status in my world.

It’s a good idea to do some research and already know a little about a lawyer before you need one! In Ohio, Luftman and Heck is a reputable firm. Their main office is in Columbus, but they have offices in a pretty inclusive area of the state. Their services include Employment Law, Real Estate and Personal Injury. They also specialize in Bankruptcy, Consumer Law, even DUI and Criminal Defense. Luftman and Heck covers pretty much all of the big things you may not plan on but want a good lawyer in your address book if they happen!

The professionals at Luftman Heck are real people who understand the legal needs of real people. Hey, their Facebook pages not only shows the computer boxes in anticipation of opening the new Cleveland office, but they are proud of winning their softball game last Thursday! Last week, on their website’s blog, they gave FREE ADVICE! Can you imagine? It was information on how a credit score is figured and what you can do to rebuild yours. That’s definitely advice this not-working student can use!

They are definitely making a case for being in my address book. If you’re in Ohio, you might want to check them out – just in case!

Visit my sponsor: Law Firm Review

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Movie Marketing Jumps the Shark

Open Screen Day at The Chronicles of Nani. My honey requested a photo on my digital camera when I was grocery shopping and a little space for a guest blog spot. I'm only too happy to say, "yes!"

Guest blog written by Nani's wonderful, sexy, loving husband:

Did you have a big party at your house this week because the movie Avatar was released on home video? No? Neither did we. But apparently lots of people were expected to do so, at least by the people at Kroger supermarkets. Not only was the movie itself available for sale at the grocery store, so also were specially decorated cakes and cupcakes, slathered with blue icing and festooned with movie imagery.

Now, I'll admit right up front I'm not a big movie buff. I don't go to the theater very often, and the three DVDs I requested for Christmas were all of films from the 1970s and 1980s. I haven't seen Avatar, and I understand it was a big moneymaker, if for no other reason than way-out-there special effects. And I suppose if you have kids who like to watch the same shows over and over again -- I did see the original Star Wars about five times when I was 11 -- you might be able to justify buying more movies on video than I do, too. But a party at home to watch a movie you just brought home from the supermarket? Really?

This is not completely new territory at Kroger. Every year they have specially decorated foods on display for the Ohio State-Michigan game, and for the Super Bowl. They even had special-color M&Ms for OSU-Michigan a few years ago, but around here that game is BIGGER than the Super Bowl, even when one of the two teams stinks. Guess that's because the Lions and the Browns have never been to the Super Bowl. But I get why they do the special spreads for events like the football games: people really do get together to watch them. So my question returns: Did you have a big party at your house this week because the movie Avatar was released on home video? Do you know anyone who did? Or did most of those blue cupcakes end up at your local homeless shelter by Friday?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

Stock photo from laptop

Hi there! I’m not lost, just kinda buried under my final project for my XHTML class! I’m doing a page for Journal Camp. It’s all dolled up to follow the requirements for the project, but I am a creative type that has to be creating for a purpose. It takes a lot longer to “make something up” for a subject than it does to create for something that already exists, so Journal Camp it is! The rough draft and copy is done, now I need to put the code in to, hopefully if done right, go from a text document to a web page! That’s kinds like magic. It’s fun!

Last weekend, my brother, Dave and I took our spouses back up to grandma’s house to work on the cleaning out. I was, not even kidding, shredding tax documents from 1958! Grandma and Papa moved there in 1982. You’re supposed to keep tax documents for 7 years. They didn’t even need to bring 1958 tax forms with them from Detroit!

We went up Friday night and left Monday morning so we’d have 2 full cleaning days. We really have made a good dent. I came home with a car trunk full of more old photos in antique frames. After I get a staging area cleared here, I have a major identifying and scanning project to work on. I started a family tree at ancestry.com and I’m filling in blanks and notes as I can put them together from the photos and notes I have. It is a huge task, but it’s kinda fun too. Ultimately, there will be 2 sets of disks with copies of everything, one for Dave and one for me. They can be copied from there, but initially everything will be duplicated for storing. I now have all the photos from both sets of grandparents, so I’m going to archive both sides of the family. Whew! Big project!

I’ll try to make some time to get the best of Monday Mug Shot up this afternoon for this week. I’m just a little back-logged right now! But I’ll get it all together, I always do!

The pre-camp meeting for Journal Camp is a week from tomorrow! How exciting!! The post for that week is ready; just have to do a little uploading. I have one more layout I’m working on that goes with week one. I want to remain ahead on this! You can see that I put up the sponsors list on the right side bar. The links are all working, I just need to get the blinkie locations up! I have 12 fabulous designers who have agreed to provide the random prizes for Journal Camp! I’m trying to use sponsor kits for the remaining layouts for examples to show off a little bit of what you might win.

Okay, now I have to get back to switching a laundry load, then working on my code for school!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Photoblog Wednesday

Pelicans in Ft. Pierce, Florida

April 1, 2010: Bright sun, palm trees, pelicans and a railroad bridge with a train due soon. A PERFECT morning!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Weekend Update

What is Giant Nani doing under
the desk in the SNL dollhouse??

I chuckle as I think back to my younger years and Saturday Night Live. Jane Curtin and Dan Ackroyd on Weekend Update. “Nani, you ignorant…” Nah, won’t go there.

Strange how those things from years ago leave their mark. They resurface from time to time. Today’s title is a good title for this post, but obviously, it has a place in my memory too. When searching for a title, the flies in the subconscious just popped it out, complete with the whole log of its origin!

Yes. Some mornings my brain works a little too well. It thinks about things I wasn’t planning on using brain cells for. That’s why I stay away from taking drugs of any sort, even Advil if I can avoid it. I need all the extra brain cells I can preserve!

So, here is Weekend Update in The Chronicles of Nani format.

Journal Camp Updates

Things are progressing well in my prep for Journal Camp. I’m working on the freebies, posting bonuses and organizing the random drawing prizes. I sent out a note to the designer’s forum at DST to see if any designers would be interested in donating a store coupon for the random drawing prizes. I am truly humbled by the response! I only have one opening left to offer and it’s the second trip around the schedule. I’ve had some offers from really great designers to donate a store coupon for a kit in the random prize drawings each week. The posting bonuses will consist of products from the Digitalegacies Designs store archive, products that were not, and will not be, freebies. The random prizes are from other professional designers. The Digital Scrapbooking community is so cool!

I’m also doing a few more example layouts. I can be a little verbose in my journaling sometimes and some of the techniques I talk about at Camp I haven’t used in a while. See? I’m getting better writing the tutorials too! Detailed journaling is good for a lot of photos, especially older ones or pages for milestone events, but mixing the styles up is so important to the aesthetic quality of the books too! Remembering the roots of what I do and talking about them only makes me better!

While I’m talking about verbosity, the tutorials are long. I can’t hope to make journaling easier if I don’t explain the techniques thoroughly! All of the Journal Camp blogs, including the precamp meeting, will be available as pdf files, images included, that you can download from The Chronicles of Nani to read offline or keep for reference.

Java 365

Vacation put me in more interesting coffee situations, but behind in doing my layouts for them! I did get Week 12 done!

Credits: Midnight Espresso by Booland Designs,
P365 Template 8 by MAH Designs,
special thanks to Scrappy Cocoa for the word art tutorial

Of course I’m three pictures into week 15 now, but I do plan to have at least week 13 done by the end of today.

Jelly Bean Trauma

I have a bag of Gimbal’s Gourmet Jelly Beans. They’re like Jelly Bellies, but less expensive and I like the pear ones. I can’t stand Jelly Belly’s Perfectly Pear, yuck! But I have firmly decided that I have the same repulsion for Gimbal’s Kiwi and this bag has too many kiwi and too many black licorice. I set a few on the table and pick one up at a time. I enjoy the cinnamon, key lime, and the pineapple. It’s a wonderful treat when I bite into root beer and java, my favorites. But then, my taste buds are shocked with the icky sensation of the kiwi or licorice.

David scowls about the price, but the last time I paid for Jelly Bellies at Cracker Barrel, it was a whole yummy bag of Very Cherry! Stores that have the single flavor bulk shooters are the BEST! I need to see if you can order single flavor packs of the Gimbal’s.

That’s the Nani-News. Good Night and have a pleasant tomorrow!

Friday, April 9, 2010

What’s for dinner, Mr. Moore?

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Hormel Foods. All opinions are 100% mine.

Funny how an antique commercial can still make me hungry. The Mr. Moore I’m talking about is the old commercial with the lumberjack, “First name’s Dinty. Last name’s Moore. Dinty lumberjack? Macho? Absolutely! We’re talking about Dinty Moore stew! It comes in a variety of meats and flavors. Hearty, convenient and tasty!

Before the lumberjack, Dinty, there were ads with the characters Jiggs and Maggie from “Bringing up Father” promoting hormel foods in the 30s and then later Fran Tarkenton called Hormel Chili “official training table food” for football!

Yes, I LOVE old commercials! But, the trip through Hormel foods advertising history is a little bigger than that right now. Dinty Moore stew and Hormel chili are having a big birthday this year! They came out in 1935, 75 years ago! Wow! That’s a time-honored and loved product, huh?

Hormel is a brand you may not even realize is a staple to you. Spam anyone? I know my Dad loves spam. It was one of those very special American foods he loved when he came to this country. He’ll be 65 this year and has been an American citizen most of his life now, but he still picks up a can of Spam every now and then!

In our home there is always a can or two of Hormel’s Mary Kitchen Roast Beef Hash. David loves it and will cook up a whole can for dinner on late work nights if he doesn’t get a chance to eat before he comes home or on lazy weekends. I’ve heated it up for him and tasted it. I even like it okay and I’m not a beef fan!

I was surprised to find, when I was looking at their website, that Hormel makes No So Sloppy Joe mix too! We love that stuff and will make a special trip if the grocery store we normally shop doesn’t have it on the shelf.

Hormel is not just food out of the can or refrigerated section either. There is a Hormel recipe site with some great ideas too! I remember growing up, Mom often made “Mexighetti.” Long before we’d ever heard about Cincinnati Chili, we’d never thought about chili on spaghetti, but Mom thought it sounded good and it was! Hormel Chili without beans on spaghetti became a kid favorite with Dave and me.

So thanks, Hormel, for all the wonderful food you’ve put on our shelves all these years and HAPPY BIRTHDAY Hormel Chili and Dinty Moore!

Visit my sponsor: As American as apple pie

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Outstanding Lunch!

Cream of Italy Soup
2½ cups for under 100 calories!

I just posted this fabulous recipe at Davlicious Recipes. OMG!

If you’re wondering what about this cup of soup is worth teenage text-slang from me, all my recipes are tested multiple times for consistency of flavor and accuracy of measurements before I post them at Davlicious. The measurements on Cream of Italy Soup are sound, so they pass for accuracy.

The consistency of flavor changes depending on the sauce you use. When I created the soup, we had a jar of Ragu meat sauce open in the refrigerator. It made for a tasty soup that was quick to make a and low calorie. Today was the final test. The sauce that’s open in the fridge is a container of my homemade sauce. That’s where the text slang comes in. My homemade sauce Italied up the flavor of the soup and … OMG!

The key here is pick a spaghetti sauce you really like the flavor of, because it definitely makes the soup’s flavor. Whichever sauce you use, it’s still low calorie, still fast and still delicious!

Link: See the recipe at Davlicious!
Cream of Italy Soup

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Photoblog Wednesday

Taggers beware!

The Florida East Coast Railroad has added man-eating cacti to their security efforts. Like guard dogs, if you get anywhere near them....

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Amazing What A Week Away Does!

I had done some double-duty the week before vacation to get ahead a week in school, have my blog posts ready to auto-post or post on the laptop on the road, I did all, and I mean all the laundry, not one dirty item left in the chute and what perishables we didn’t eat in the days before we left, I put in the freezer. And still, after a fun week away, I’m behind again!

David and I spent the lion’s share of our week away in Florida chasing the Florida East Coast Railroad by day and enjoying some great local seafood many of the nights. I didn’t make a point of telling about our vacation plans before we left because if we don’t have a cat-sitter/house-sitter, I don’t want to broadcast that we’ll be gone! This trip the cats “Grandma” stopped in to make sure they were attended to, but it was just the kids at night. I wanted to be on the safe side. It would be awful for anything to happen while we were gone, tons worse if anything happened to our furbabies!

Some fun trip stats include that I took a picture of the temperature readout in David’s SUV as we were pulling out of the driveway in Toledo on March 27. It was 28 degrees Fahrenheit. The top readout on our trip while we were in Florida was 85!

I took 714 pictures over the ten days we were gone. I love digital photography! I read in the Mensa bulletin many years ago that the key to taking one good picture is to shoot like there’s no film in the camera and throw always all but the really good ones. If you shoot enough there will be many really good ones. Well, now I DON’T have film in the camera! So, 714 photos doesn’t mean I have a 20-minute train show or a heck of a lot of scrapbooking to do. It just means that the train photos I share and the scrapbook pages I do will be great pictures!

We brought home a bag of Valencia oranges and a bag of grapefruit from Harvey’s Orchards and when we were in Georgia on the way down, I bought a box of praline pecans. These pecans weren’t the glazed kind, but coated in real southern praline. David had never tried pralines before and I got him to try the praline pecans when we were waiting on a train signal. We stopped at the pecan outlet on the way home to get a couple more boxes!

My favorite new food of the trip was mahi-mahi. What a wonderful fish! David tried mahi-mahi at a great casual seafood restaurant at the docks in Ft. Pierce. That night I got coconut shrimp. The first dinner I had in Florida the first time I was there with my parents was coconut shrimp, so I just had to have coconut shrimp. David let me taste his mahi-mahi and I knew the next fish dinner we had I was going to get mahi-mahi! His was blackened. The next night we went to a very nice restaurant in Melbourne. He had swordfish and I had macadamia encrusted mahi-mahi with a peanut sauce. YUM! Now I have to decide if I’m brave enough to try to cook it at home. I tried making swordfish when I found it on sale back when I was still in Michigan, but I didn’t like how it tasted. Maybe that was why it was on sale! But mahi-mahi is definitely on my restaurant order-card now!

A lot of the photos I took were of flora and fauna. In addition to some pelican pics, I went a little nuts on all the colors! Springtime in the south is just beautiful. There are many lawns landscaped with the trees that flower the best, but there are beautiful oranges, bright yellows, reds, pinks, purples and shocking white dogwoods all over the wild areas too! This is the only scrapbook page I did while I was gone:

Credits: Blossoms and Butterflies by Nibbles Skribbles

Blossoms and Butterflies is a new kit that came out on April 1 and I wanted to at least get my first layout up for Manda’s launch.

The other thing I went gonzo on the photos of was the palm trees. I love palm trees!! David hadn’t been anywhere with me where there were palm trees before and he chuckled a little at me because I went on and on about the many different kinds of palm trees and how they all looked so different and how much I loved them. I even thought about buying a palm tree to take home from the Florida tourist-trap store, but thought better of that. I will have a couple of palm tree pages to scrap, though!

The one thing I was bummed about was baseball. I’ve wanted to go to spring training for such a long time. I dreamt about going to Florida for a week and seeing one or two games every day as a dream vacation. We were going to catch a couple games when we were there, but I’m the one who said, “no.”

It appears that my dream vacation really was a rich man’s pursuit! Grapefruit League tickets are a little more than twice what I had in mind to spend. I mean, come-on guys! Seriously? $25 for an exhibition game? The marquee players don’t even play all the spring games and they actually have one, some teams two, tiers for “premium games.” I refuse to pay that kind of money for games that don’t even count! For the price of one game, David and I could see three Mud Hens games that DO count and will put the best on the roster out for every game. What was once my dream vacation is now just a greed-fest in which I’m not so interested. We did watch the Red Sox win the Opening Day Eve game! The World Series Champions had the worst record in baseball on Opening Day! The greed sucks, but I still love this sport!

We got home yesterday with just enough time to unpack the car and have birthday cake for Baggle. He had crab and shrimp and shared it with his sisters after we sang “Happy Birthday” to him. Then David went to work and I watched the Reds, Tigers, Braves, Astros and Angels games with a break for the second half of the basketball game when David got home.

Today was studying for the test I’ll take tomorrow, some household chores, making dinner and I need to double up on my layout-a-day goal this week to catch up! It was a fun trip but it’s still nice to sleep in my own bed and cuddle with the cats in the morning!

Alvin! Alvin!!

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Alvin and the Chipmunks. All opinions are 100% mine.

Maybe you remember them from your own younger days. If you have kids you know them! Heck, I have teenage nieces and I hear about them often! I’m talking about the Chipmunks!

Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Squeakquel is available now on DVD, blu-ray and Digital Download. If you buy the double DVD pack, it includes the bonus “Squeak Along” disc. buy it now and you’ll have the fun disk for your summer trips!

No joking at all there. When the girls were littler, I had sing along cassettes when we traveled that kept the “are we there yets” to a minimum. I sent them a text from Florida last week when I was reminded of one of those old songs and at 15 years old I got a text back from Rina with a smiley face and told now I had her singing the song. That’s what a fun movie like the Chipmunks Squeakquel and the bonus Squeak Along disk do. They create great family memories that bring smiles for many years!

As if the fun family movie and bonus disk aren’t enough for you and the kids, there’s More Munk Mayhem! Follow the link to see clips of the movie and other Chipmunks games including the opportunity to Munk Yourself! I make my Nanimunk and listened to The Chipettes do Beyonce! I’m ready to Squeak Along. Come join me!

Visit my sponsor: Alvin and the Chipmunks:

Monday, April 5, 2010

(The Best of) Monday Mug Shot

We got back from our railfan vacation in Florida and surrounding states just this afternoon, in time to have kitty birthday cake for Baggle with the kids, turn on the ball game and for David to get ready for work after we unpacked the car. I think my pecans are still in the back seat, but the oranges and grapefruits are in the house!

I’ll tell a little more about vacation later, but just before I post the best of mug shot, I want to know, why is that when I vacation in the southeast, things rumble in California??

Monday Mug Shot
Originally posted at Yahoo on 7/30/07

Ave Maria Grotto
Cullman, Alabama

I went to Ave Maria Grotto with my Mom on our trip south for 2 weeks in 1989. I’d never been south of Florence, Kentucky before that trip, so it was full of new sights to see! It was also a great female bonding trip, lots of talk, lots of desserts and lots of shopping! That was the trip where I started to collect coffee mugs as souvenirs, with the hope that I’d eventually have a wall with mugs on it.

It was during the World Series between San Francisco and Oakland. Neither of them are one of my teams, but I had a passing interest because Brett Butler, a player I enjoyed, was on the Giants that year. After a crazy day that had us believing that Birmingham was a city that ate Yankees, spit them out and swallowed them again for fun because we kept ending up passing another “Welcome to Birmingham” sign every time we’d thought we’d gotten OUT, a fierce afternoon rain that had me thinking something had happened to my car (Only to have a mechanic laugh at me because I had “those good Yankee snow tires” throwing water on the un-crowned road at the bottom of my car) and a much later than expected arrival in Cullman after a stop at one of the chain in the new restaurant we’d discovered in Kentucky, Cracker Barrel, for diner, we didn’t even turn the TV on. We went right to sleep after checking in to the hotel. I figured I’d get the score for game three in the morning.

That was October 17, 1989 and of course, the next morning, there was no score. Just eye witness accounts about the earthquake, horrific shots from the pancaked highway bridge and a few sound bites from the Candlestick Park, which was evacuated and the World Series put on hold pending a structural inspection of the ball park after search and rescue efforts were complete. The news from San Francisco made it a late start to the day for us, but somehow going to a Catholic Shrine for our first stop of the touring day had become quite appropriate.

Ave Maria Grotto, in Cullman, Alabama is the work of a Benedictine Monk in the early 20th century. It is places of spiritual significance and world landmarks done in miniature sculptures in an outdoor garden setting near to the Abbey Brother Zoetti called home. Now, that’s a switch from my usual attraction to larger-than-life sculptures, but it was an incredible place! The detail in the tiny sculptures just brought the far-off places to enchanted life! If I get back to that part of Alabama, I definitely want to go again...just no earthquakes this time!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Journal Camp Dates

Before I get on with the Journal Camp announcement, a big happy birthday today, to our beloved Feline April Fool! Baggle is 14 years old today!

]Happy Birthday Baggle Buddy!

Announcement of Journal Camp dates

I am pleased to announce the dates for Journal Camp!

Journal Camp will be released every Tuesday starting May 4, 2010 and going for five weeks. There will be a pre-camp “meeting” posted Tuesday April 27 with suggestions for things you’ll want to have handy for the exercises at camp. The freebies start at the pre-camp meeting, so be sure to stop by! It’s my hope that after the five weeks, everyone who comes to Journal Camp will journal better and with more comfort.

There will be freebies, exercises, posting bonuses and random winners every week.

I want to clear up a couple of questions right off the bat.

There is absolutely no charge for Journal Camp.

I’m doing this because I love to journal! I get comments often on my scrapbook layouts about my journaling. Many times people say they wish the could journal like me. I’m not doing this so anyone can journal like me. I’m doing this so if you participate, you can learn to journal like a better YOU. That’s even better than doing it like me!

If you’re wondering what makes me qualified to be the Journal Camp counselor, I wrote the programs and taught Pubic Access classes in cable TV. Members of the community came in to learn how to produce community TV programs and I was the instructor. I wrote classes to make the process of learning studio equipment, editing and computer graphics easy to learn and get results. That’s for what I’m striving with Journal Camp. I want to be able to help anyone I’ve ever read in chat who says, “I can’t journal,” or “I hate journaling,” to be better and more comfortable in adding that important part of scrapbooking to their layouts.

Okay, the big question for those that aren’t regulars in my coffee shop on the Information Superhighway is probably: An extensive tutorial with freebies and prizes for FREE, what’s the catch?

No catch. This is just something about which I am passionate. Before Digitalegacies had the Designs on the end and it was the name I used as my scrapbook designer name, it was a small video company in Michigan. I created Musical Photobooks, slide shows set to music on DVD. I even did a Digital Greeting card, a regular card with a custom DVD inside. I’ve seen those advertised on TV by one of the big photo companies now. My business didn’t survive because the depression we’re in now started in the Detroit area, plagued by the mistakes of the auto industry, first. I gave back deposits on products people really wanted to buy because they got their hours cut or lost their jobs entirely. I met people at business showcases who loved the idea and had many events, gifts, reasons they would love to have one, but couldn’t afford what everyone said were very reasonable prices.

Talking with potential clients about why they wanted my products, it was often preserving their own past, their memories and their family. When things get rough, you really concentrate on what you DO have.

That’s what we do when we scrapbook. It’s focusing on what we have, cherishing it and preserving it. Journaling is such a big part of that. Adding the facts and little stories to the photos that make the picture complete. We’re preserving our heritage with scans of old photos and documenting our current day for the future. Remember, the photos we take today will one day be old photos and the books we create for things going on now will one day be heritage books!

So, it’s important to be able to create the best pages, including journaling. I could have written this class and pedaled it to sites that charge for scrapbooking classes. I could even charge for it on my own. But there are plenty of people who don’t have the disposable income to spend on a class to learn how to journal. I understand that. If it comes down to a choice between a class and a new kit so you can continue to scrap, or if right now you really only scrap with freebies and RAKs because you have other responsibilities for your funds, you shouldn’t be shut out of this and exercises that could make you even better in your hobby. When I had to maintain equipment and buy raw materials for my business, I couldn’t afford to give away free product. I spent about a week to write the Journal Camp tutorials. Any out-of-pocket expense is done. That would be extra coffee because I was writing Journal Camp instead of sponsored posts.

Journal Camp is intellectual property. It’s me sharing my gifts for teaching and journaling. I’m grateful for those gifts and they are priceless really, and so without price, it’s my gift to my fellow family history keepers and all of our future generations!

I will put the tip cup back up on the right side bar. If you really feel you want to leave something, I’m flattered and thank you! The prizes at Journal Camp are chosen by a random generator, so tips have no bearing on your eligibility for the weekly prizes. That’s all I’m going to say about the tip cup. It don’t expect it to have contents, but if it’s something that makes you feel good to do, again, thank you!

Here is the schedule for Journal Camp:

Week 1 – Simple Starter: Helper Journaling and Lists

Week 2 – Just a Little More: Simple and Embellished Captioning

Week 3 – What Really Happened: Making Journal Blocks

Week 4 – A Little Bit of YOU: Journaling Feelings and First Person

Week 5 – Journaling Without A Net: Scrapping Without Photos

June 7 – Final prize drawing and Bonuses*

*As a special bonus, I’m bundling my best-sellers at Scarp Bird: My Blue Heaven, Talkin Baseball and the complete Laura Collection. That bonus bundle will be sent to everyone who leaves a link to their layout for the exercise for all five weeks. If you miss a deadline for the random drawing one week, you can still post a link for that week’s layout to qualify for the program bonus, so even if you start late, you can still catch up!