(Cinderella topper found on Bake It Pretty)
I honestly have had a few people ask me if I'm enjoying my "vacation".... I never know just how to respond. I haven't had too much free time between nursing, laundry, errands, etc. to enjoy a leisurely day. Nursing takes an incredible amount of time, but I enjoy it and I see a decrease in the length of each "session," if you will. I'm so glad that I stuck with it (there have been plenty of times that I wanted to quit)... but I won't say much more about that :)
Besides writing a billion thank you notes, I've been using any free minute I have to organize our overflowing house or bake. I see other moms trying to squeeze in something they enjoy, too! :)
I used to be big into scrapbooking, but I can't seem to find the time. Plus, there are bags and bags of scraps of paper, stamps, stickers, etc. that I just hate having to store... I'm always trying to get rid of stuff! Our house is tiny, we love it, but it is tiny... I have to remind myself often that people in Europe somehow live in smaller places.
I've found much simpler solutions that I'm pretty happy with-- digital photo books. Originally, I wanted to try the Kodak (regular) photo books... but I didn't like the pages. They may be different now, but the ones I saw were glossy and looked like someone just printed them from a typical printer. I wanted something a little nicer.
I can nurse (Is that T.M.I.?), scan, upload photos, burn photo cds, organize pages all at once. All one-handed, sitting-for-long-periods-of-time activities.
So, I worked on a Blurb book. Love it! It took some time, months in fact, to piece it all together. It was our wedding album, so I wanted to make it just right. You can actually work on it offline, which was nice. Once you are satisfied, you just load it to the site. Here's a preview of ours. The quality is outstanding-- it looks like a real, professionally-printed book that we'll cherish.
I just recieved it last week and my mother has stolen it already. I haven't seen it since Thursday :) When I get it back, I will post some photos of it...
Excited by the prospect of organizing ALL of our photos that way, I looked into some other options.. just to explore a little.
I discovered Martha Stewarts's Mini books at Kodak. I love these. The quality is just as nice a Blurb (I saw one finished), but it's of course much smaller. I love the cover options, and think these would make great gifts! (Perhaps they will be....!!! Christmas is right around the corner!)
Another site I discovered that I totally want to try is StoriesbyEveryone.com. You pick the theme, upload your photos, add your captions, and Voila! It looks just like those cool scrapbooks that used to take years.... I'm guessing. Like I said, I've got to try this one out.
Finally, I wanted to share 2 other links I love exploring right now... Since I've been home more, I've been baking more and love baking "accesories:"
Fancy Flours: You have got to check this one out. She's got every kind of cookie cutter, sprinkle, glitter, even adorable cupcake liners... yes, these have little Christmas lights cut out--
Bake It Pretty- Cupcake topper kits, inspiring photos...