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Friday, December 31, 2010

Snow in Snow Hill: the digital scrapbook layout

Just a quick and easy page to celebrate my daughter and her cousin builiding a snowman at their Papa's house.
Products used:
Michele Martin
Alana Paper Pack
Ali Edwards
You Mini Die-Cut Kraft Tags
Winter Celebrations Element Kit
Grid No. 02 Layered Templates
Wood Type Alphabet
Winter Hand Drawn Brushes
Pattie Knox
Brad Bonanza No. 01: Digital Fasteners
Mindy Terasawa
Sweet Rainbow Solids Paper Pack (slightly recolored pink solid paper)
Katie Pertiet
Word Strip Labels No. 02

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Snow in Snow Hill

Nikolas sledding -- too bad there aren't really any hills on the Eastern shore
 It was a nice day today to go out and play in the snow before the temperatures warm up and the snow melts. We weren't in Snow Hill for the big blizzard since we arrived late yesterday, but they had about a foot of snow on Sunday. It wasn't so cold and windy today. I confess that I watched from the window while my sister took these photos and our kids built the snowman with their Dad/Uncle Ron.  The dogs, meanwhile, we all outside having a ball in the snow -- Chloe loves snow and was chasing all around with the big dogs Bella and George. Pumpkin, the west highland terrier was upstairs having a nap with Hazel.  Jim has spent the afternoon putting together his lego aircraft carrier that my sister's family gave him.

Earlier the grown-ups went out for a Sushi/Japanese lunch -- while Hazel took the kids to Friendly's for lunch -- she should get an award!  Now Dad's cooking dinner and Emma and the twins are playing house again on the stairs to the basement (they are at one end of the family room here and are carpeted and they are hidden from the room by bookcases so they make a great little nook for playing in).

Amelia with her hat on backwards

Emma and Amelia with the snowman they made with Uncle Ron.

I think I like the pink hat better than the Ravens ballcap.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Gift Tradition

This is the second year that I've made a CD sized calendar to give as a Christmas gift. Jim actually requested one again this year as he loves having the one I made last year on his desk at work.  The great thing about digitally created projects is that it is so easy to make multiple copies. This year I made three copies and gave them to Emma's grandmother's as well.  Here are some of the pages.  I used a template by Bioggraffiti  that was linked to from Persnickity Prints and had the calendar printed there as well -- they did a fantastic job and even included the CD cases which are used as a stand.

Other supplies used:

Ali Edwards:
Ali's official handwritting font
Hand Draw Holiday Word Art
A Week in the Life Twill Strips
(All from Designer Digitals)

Carina Gardner:
Daisy Jane paper packs and embellishments (from JessicaSprague.com)

Katie Pertiet:
Clock Buttons No. 1 (from Designer Digitals)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holmes Family Christmas Letter, 2010 edition

Dear Friends and Family,    
This year was deceptively eventful around the Holmes household. We never felt all that busy, but, looking back, we find we were. Beth is still working as the law librarian at Partridge Snow & Hahn, LLP in Providence and ferrying Emma around to ballet, jazz classes, and friends’ houses. She spends as much free time as possible assembling digital scrapbooks. A couple of her layouts were published on the blog of a well-known scrapbook artist and graphic designer, Ali Edwards, which was a huge thrill. (See the post here -- I am the second Beth towards the bottom of the post: http://aliedwards.com/2010/05/week-in-the-life-reader-submissions-part-one.html) Beth also attended a scrapbooking conference with good friend Wendy Rees in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. They took lots of digital scrapbooking classes together, shopped the exhibits, and had a great girls’ weekend without the kids.

Beth remains a faithful book-club member. They’ve read some great books this year and continue to enjoy the company, wine, and discussion. (To see what we’ve been reading be my friend on http://www.GoodReads.com)  Beth became a godmother again in November to Rose Sillars Rakeman, the second daughter of our friends Jen and Ed. It was an honor to be asked!

Over Emma’s February school break, Emma and Beth spent almost a week in Summerland Key, Florida, about 25 miles east of Key West. Ron and Hazel had rented a house there. Despite the freakishly cool—for south Florida—weather, Emma spent lots of time in the swimming pool. They toured Key West, and Emma informed her grandpa she’d like to live there for a year to get a real sense of how the people live. We traveled to Stone Harbor, New Jersey, for family vacation over the Fourth. We enjoyed our time there, as usual, and visited with Jean, Kate, Ron, Nikolas, Amelia, and all of the dogs.

Jim was in Washington to speak at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the American Enterprise Institute, and the German Marshall Fund. He traveled to Milwaukee to lead a Great Decisions event at the University of Wisconsin, to New Orleans for the International Studies Association annual conference, to Nashville for the National Security Symposium at Vanderbilt, and to Taiwan to address the annual Regional Security Forum put on by the Ministry of National Defense. This month the Atlantic Monthly named his and his pal Toshi Yoshihara’s new book Red Star over the Pacific a Best Foreign Affairs Book for 2010. (See the full write up  – Jim and Toshi’s is the 3rd book featured: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/12/the-best-books-of-the-year-foreign-affairs-edition/67994/ )

Miss Emma is in fifth grade and doing fine. She’s in the school musical and has a solo part. Their performance is in January. Emma started off the New Year with a trip to see the musical Wicked in Providence with Beth. Santa gave her tickets to see it as her Christmas gift. Emma got braces in March the day after Katie, one of her best friends. They like to coordinate the color of their rubber bands. Emma continues with ballet and jazz-dancing classes. She danced on pointe for the first time before an audience at her recital in June. It only for a minute or two, but it was neat!
She went to Summer sleep-away camp at Chimney Corners in Becket, Massachusetts, for the third year, and had another great time. Beth joined her for Mom’s Weekend towards the end of her four weeks there, and enjoyed the best weekend yet. This year Emma took two dance classes, swimming, climbing, arts & crafts, and games. She also spent a week at the Episcopal church camp in northwest Rhode Island with two of her friends from school and church. It was Emma’s second summer there and their first. She is reading all of Beth’s English Enid Blyton boarding school books for about the fourth time and spending lots of time designing and making board games about boarding school, and also writing schedules, curricula and class lists for make believe boarding schools.  She and Beth also both love to watch the TV show Glee together.

We look forward to keeping in touch with all of you in the New Year!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ballet Center Family Day

Emma chatting with one of the ballet movement class students before the demonstrations
It's that busy time of year again and today's first activity was attending Family Day at The Ballet Center.  All the students get together with their families, and demonstrate some of the barre work they do in class, and this year each group did a dance from the Nutcracker.  Emma's group did the Spanish dance. Since Emma doesn't have any siblings we brought along her friend Katie.

Next up is dinner and watching Frosty the Snowman with some friends and their kids. Coming soon photos from yesterdays cookie swap.
Demonstrating barre work they do in class

Ballet 3 & 4 class doing the Spanish dance from the Nutcracker
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Singing at the State House

Rhode Island State House in Providence
The Hampden Meadows School 5th grade chorus (as well as the 4th grade chorus) sang at the State House today as part of the Governor's Holiday celebration series. There are concerts by lots of different school groups from all over the state every day at lunchtime in the rotunda of the state house during the month of December. It was an honor to be chosen to be one of the groups performing as there are lots of groups that would like to perform. I was able to nip out of work during my lunch and head over to see them sing. I was really impressed at how well behaved they all were while waiting to sing, and how well they sang! There was some really nice harmony and the space is very alive acoustically and so not all that easy to sing in.
Hampden Meadows School 5th grade chorus waiting to sing. Emma is in the back row center with white sweater and red hairband and silver dress
I watched from the second level so the photo I took is from above. I could get a front row place to stand up there so it was worth the odd viewing angle.  I also got a great view of the rotunda above which is much prettier than my photos show. The concert was broadcast on Capitol TV on cable and the school got a copy on DVD so hopefully they will make copies for all of us. We are about to watch the rebroadcast on TV

It was a great break in my day and fun for the kids too.
Looking up at the rotunda
Relaxing after the concert and looking bored as parents take their photos
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Raking with the Pugs

While these photos were taken two weeks ago, I was raking with the pug again yesterday for several hours. I've managed to stay on top of things this year and might get all of those leaves raked up before the first snow this year. Anyway -- I had a not so bad time listening to my Glee cast playlist on the iPod, singing and dancing along to the tunes. Then making this digital scrapbook layout afterwards. Happy Fall!
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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Another lovely Thanksgiving at the Carter's

Karen and Make's house
We had a terrific Thanksgiving again this year.  We did our traditional Macy's day parade watching.  Emma always gets excited about it, and Jim and I thought it was better than usual this year. They showed lots of bands too which probably made the difference. Then in the early afternoon we headed over to our friends Mark and Karen Carter's for Thanksgiving dinner. Karen's is my honorary sister and they are like family to us. When they lived in Baltimore they spent many holidays with my Mom, Dad and my sister's family. It's our third year in a row spending Thanksgiving with them. It's such a treat to not have to travel anywhere on the Northeast corridor on this weekend! We gave up going to Baltimore when we lived in Boston -- the drive was just too awful, and flying isn't much better these days.  Karen and Mark live about an hour away in the lovely little town of Hampton, Connecticut. I love their house and it's such a perfect setting for a Thanksgiving gathering.  It's a great old house with a newer kitchen, dining, great room added with a wood burning stove and great beamed cathedral ceiling. Mark's parents were there from Maine, and a work friend of Karen's joined us with her friend.  He's getting his PhD and is from Taiwan and Karen's friend teaching Mandarin and is from China. So, it was a very interesting and diverse crowd.  Poor Emma was the only "kid", but she brought her Ninetendo DS and her book and journal and kept busy. She really enjoyed listening to the real Victrola (old record player) that Mark showed her. They played some old records from the 20s on it -- they are so thick! I think it's pretty cool that the whole thing is mechanical -- no electricity required just cranking the handle.
Uncle Mark taking a break from dinner preparations
Karen changed things up this year and we had a little wine tasting with our cheese and crackers.  We tried three different types of local Connecticut wine from Priam Vineyards.  I really loved the Salmon River white.  I thought it was a great idea -- and fun to try new wines.
Dinner waiting to be served.
The food was all delicious as usual. I have really come to love their mashed potatoes which have tons of garlic and some sweet potatoes thrown in. For desert we had yummy apple pie, or fruits of the forest pie baked by the University of Connecticut bakery, with vanilla ice cream. Finished all of this up with Uncle Mark's fresh brewed from real beans coffee and more conversation.  Hopefully we were model guests because we want to come back again next year. I know I am thankful to have good friends who are great cooks and hosts -- I am thankful for many other things too -- including my family and friends everywhere. Happy Thanksgiving!
Emma and Jim.
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Jim's latest Professional Event, "From Regional Sea to Global Lake: The Indian Ocean in the 21st Century | Transatlantic Academy"

Jim just sent me this link with information about this panel he took part in recently. His presentation is there to. I'm pretty impressed by this slides -- now I know what he's doing on his laptop all the time! They are substantive and graphically attractive.

From Regional Sea to Global Lake: The Indian Ocean in the 21st Century | Transatlantic Academy: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More scrapbook layouts for my latest class #MeTav

I got some scrapbooking time in today and finished the letters F and G for the album I am making for the Me: the Abridged Version class. Here they are:

Monday, October 11, 2010

More 11th birthday celebrations -- the Slumber Party

Saturday was Emma's birthday slumber party.  We spent most of the morning shopping for party supplies, including these incredibly cute M&M tins which we filled with -- of course -- M&M's (purple and orange ones) and gave as one of the party favors. Our color scheme for the pary was purple and orange so they fit right in.  Since the stores are always full of Halloween themed things at this time of year Emma decided to go with the flow and use sort of Halloween colors and themes.  The first activity was painting pumpkins and decorating them. This was a hit and kept them all busy for some time. Then they played games outside involving pumpkins -- something Emma played at camp.  They are old enough now that I don't have to be a hands on supervisor all the time which is great.  The dinner menu was -- of course Pizza -- followed by Emma's choice of Friendly's Oreo cookie ice cream cake.  They rounded out the evening by watching a movie and doing their nails. They didn't wake up until almost 7 am and then entertained themselves until it was time to go home playing a game Emma got as a present -- PayDay.  They all loved it and didn't want to stop playing!  Jim and I were even able to watch some episodes of "Friday Night Lights" and drink a glass of wine when they were all watching the movie.  All in all a successful and fun party.
Waiting for the guests to arrive

Emma's best friend Ally and her "self portrait" pumpkin

Opening gifts as Jessica looks on

Alternate uses for Pink Disney Princess Chairs -- Pug Dog bed!

I finally got a photo of Chloe in her "new dog bed". As you can see -- or maybe you can't -- this is actually a very pink Disney Princess chair that Emma got as a birthday gift some six years ago. It's been in the basement for ages and we brought it up when my 4 year old niece was visiting in August. One day Chloe checked it out to see if she could climb in it and she did. That time she didn't stay long, but over the past month or so she has started sitting in it regularly whenever she can't talk one of us into letting her sit on the couch with us. It's cuter in person! I'm glad she's got her own little spot to bask in the sun in comfort!
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Friday, October 8, 2010

Pumpkins and Turning Eleven

Selling pumpkins at St John's church
I always know it's Fall when all the pumpkins arrive at our church.  This is the fourth year we've been doing it at St. John's and it's our biggest fundraiser. The church sits up a hill at the top of a lawn across the street from the main shops in downtown Barrington. It's so cool to see all the pumpkins on the lawn as your drive through town. Emma and I always sign up to sell pumpkins and have a great time.  Lots of parishioners sign up to sell for two hour shifts and it's one great way to meet other people. I managed to get a photo of Emma last time we worked this past Sunday, during the one slow period.  I know I am biased, but I think she's pretty cute.  I also enjoy watching all the little kids running around looking at pumpkins. Emma enjoys giving out pumpkin patch stickers to the kids too. I've noticed that it's also a favorite spot for photo taking -- everytime I work there are several kids being posed by pumpkins for photographs -- sometimes with cell phones -- other times with big SLR cameras and tripods.
Emma's big gift from Mom and Dad. She can borrow my iPod for now.
In other breaking news, Emma turned eleven years old yesterday.  We had a small family gift opening celebration followed by dinner at Billy's Restaurant here in town. It's a family favorite with kid friendly food, but also adult friendly food and ambience -- and most importantly for me -- wine.  Emma was excited because it was going to be her first time ordering off the adult menu since their kids menu is for 10 and under!  The downside of this was that we didn't get crayons.  Now that wouldn't normally be a problem, but Billy's has bistro style tables covered in plain white paper upon which Mommy (me) likes to doodle while waiting for dinner.  I may have to start bringing my own crayons. Last year I embarrassed Emma by writing "Happy Birthday Emma" with a big arrow pointing to her -- right on the table!  Emma chose to have the cheese pizza and then chocolate cake for desert. This was a treat for me too since I didn't have to cook dinner, or have leftover cake, and I enjoyed a yummy meal.
Mommy's table doodling from last year's Billy's Birthday Dinner.

Emma's main gift from Mom and Dad was the boombox pictured above.  She often borrows my iPod and docking station and I thought it would be neat for her to not have to move the docking station around all the time.  I don't use my iPod that much so she can borrow it most of the time she asks, and lots of her music is on it anyway.  Since she got birthday money from several relatives she is at least half of the way to buying her own iPod anyway -- if she wants.  She also got an IOU for re-doing her room with more tween appropriate bedding. Right now she has pink and purple ballerinas and fairies!
Eleven pink roses
My Mom really outdid herself and sent these absolutely gorgeous pink roses -- it was only later that I realized that she had sent eleven roses -- for eleven years.  Now we are all enjoying them!  She also sent some Lands End clothes and Emma is wearing the cozy wine colored hoodie with furry lining today.
Opening the flowers while Daddy watches