Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Whew!! It's Been A Manic May!!!

Yikes!  It's been 3 weeks since I was here last, and what a whirlwind it's been!!  Let me tell you what's been happening . . .

Well, on Sunday, May 12th - Mother's Day - the four of us were at my daughter's dance competition, waiting for her to come on stage for her second dance of the day, when my husband got a text message from a friend that there was a massive fire on our street and everyone was being evacuated!  Our hearts just stopped.  Our dog, Sydney was home alone.  We had no idea where the fire was on our street, just that it involved three homes, possibly more.  My husband rushed home to see what was happening and I stayed to watch our daughters last dance, trying to stay calm while my son cried beside me, worried for his puppy dog and his toys.
It felt like ages before my husband texted that he got our dog out and that the fire was at the end of our street, about 10 houses down from ours.  Here is the photo of our street that he sent me:

You can see all the smoke still quite thick, yet most of the fire was already out at this point.  The whole area was blocked off and all the houses on the street had been evacuated for precaution.  This all happened right around noon and we were let back into our homes at about 4pm.  The fire had destroyed three homes and damaged two more :-(  Devastating and terrifying how quickly it happened.  If there had been any wind that day, it would have been much worse.

A little shaken, and holding each other just a little bit closer, we celebrated the rest of Mother's Day with the kids gifts to me and a lovely dinner by hubby.  It was hard for everyone on our street that night to get a good nights sleep though - it would be for a while we knew.

It is what happened next though that I really want to share with you.  When I picked my kids up from school the next day, my daughter and her friends swarmed me asking if they could do a lemonade stand to raise money for the houses that burned down - "We want to call it "Help the Homes"!" they said.  Well, I have to confess to you here, I was tired, really tired (remember, no sleep due to a still smoldering fire just down the street from me!), and I was just about to say "no, not today", when I looked at their excited faces and decided, what could it hurt - we'll set up a little table for a bit and maybe collect a few dollars to donate to the fire relief fund I'm sure someone would set up.
So we headed to the grocery store, I gave my 8 year old daughter a basket and said "get what you need".  She got Iced Tea, cups and napkins.  She also approached the store Manager and told her what her and her friends were going to do!  He said write a letter and we'll get you a donation.  This Mom was feeling proud!

We got home and set up right outside our house with two tv tray tables, two jugs of Iced Tea, a sleeve of cups, and a whiteboard with "Help The Homes" Fundraiser, Iced Tea by donation".  It was just my two kids . . . where were the friends???  One car stops, hands the kids a $20 bill.  Another car stops, hands the kids $15.  More cars, more big donations.  I called the Mom/caregiver of the other two girls that organized this that day at school and said "Help!!"  They were there right away and thank goodness for that!!!  This little Iced Tea stand that I thought would maybe make $50 actually made $950 in just a few hours!!!!

Here is the original gang of kids that Monday after school:

The girls took control of the drink station and sent the little brothers out to the corner with signs . . .

Started off good, but you know boys!

The girls soon realized they had to do the signs too!  And we picked up one more helper . . .

and then on Tuesday we picked up more helpers . . . and more one Wednesday, and even more on Thursday!!  The response from the community that we had only begun to call our home less than a year ago, was AMAZING!!!!

Even Santa showed up to help! 

And one neighbour made a more visible sign for the kids:

And Sobey's donated 20 dozen cupcakes to add to our Iced Tea stand that had now grown to two large tables, and eventually included jugs of Kool Aid too!!

The people of the community were looking for a way to help these families that lost their homes, and the kids gave them the chance to do just that.  The donations were incredible!!  The kids set up their stand for four days, for four hours each of these days, and they raised over $4000!!!!

Even the Fire investigation team stopped by for a drink and donated!  AND the kids were interviewed by three different news stations!!!  They all thought this was the coolest, and that now they are TV stars, of course!!  It became a joke with the parents that when we needed the kids to all gather around just tell them the news guys was coming!

Then on the Saturday, we joined forces with another group of kids and parents that had organized a hot dog stand with cotton candy, popcorn, chocolate bars, and water. The fundraiser had grown so much, we had to set up across the street by the park, and once again we were overwhelmed with the turnout and support!!!  By the end of the three hours we set up this day, the total raised was about $7700!!!!

My two enjoying the cotton candy that was as big as their head!!

Three Fire Trucks showed up and let the kids tour the trucks.  The firemen gave them Fire Safety colouring books and firemen hats too!!!  Getting to sit up front and wear the head set was my son's favourite part of course!!!  My hats off to these brave and amazing men and women of the Edmonton Fire Departments!!!

I am among many incredibly proud parents from this neighbourhood - these kids are amazing for their big hearts and dedication to this fundraiser!!  They showed all of us what love and kindness there is in our community - in this world!  - despite the tragedies that do occur.  We met so many wonderful people throughout this week of fundraising, and have made some great new friends.  My kids saw the good in this world, and that alone makes me rest better at night.

Before I end off here, I must throw out a few thank yous.  Thank you to Monty's restaurant for feeding the troops with pizza on that Tuesday night when the parents were still unprepared for the success and chaos of this endeavor!  Thank you to Sobey's for donating 20 dozen delicious cupcakes to give out with the Iced Tea!!  Thank you to my neighbours for arranging the cupcakes and lending us some tables and a bigger Iced Tea container - this saved me many trips in and out of my house to refill the jugs!!!  Thank you to Global News, CTV, and CBC for showing up to interview our kids and put their fundraising efforts on the news!!  Thank you to everyone who helped advertise via radio, Facebook, and Twitter - incredible how fast and far this spread!!!  Thank you to 102.3 FM "The Now!" for dropping by with a cooler full of popsicles on that warm Saturday afternoon!!  Thank you to Kanga Inflatables and Alberta Traffic Safety Services for your substantially generous donations - you ROCK!!!!  Thank you to all the parents and neighbours that helped out and collectively "babysat" all those kids!!!  When you spend all their lives teaching them "stranger danger" and then all of a sudden they are going up to cars and taking money from strangers, it truly takes a village to teach them the difference and to watch over them during this time!  Lastly, and my apologies to anyone I know I've forgotten, I want to thank all the kids - for having the hearts to think this up and get it started in the first place, and for showing us adults how much goodness can come from one small act of kindness!!!  As one of the home owners from the fire said, "Angels, they are all angels!"

**  More donations have trickled in since and the kids will be depositing over $8000 this coming Saturday at our local ATB Financial where a Fire Relief Fund has been set up.  If you would like to contribute to the fund you may do so at any ATB Financial, under "Lewis Estates Fire Relief Fund".

My cup runneth over,


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Best NSD Ever!!!

As all you scrappy folks know, this past Saturday was National Scrapbooking Day - squeeeee!!!! - and this year I "booked" the day off with hubby and the kids and locked myself in my craft area for 12 hours!!!  I turned on my country music, logged in to two online crops, and happily scrapped the day away :-)

At first I planned on scrapping along with Scrapbook Nerd and Let's Scrap, but last minute decided to enroll in Big Picture Classes Creative Crop, and since Let's Scrap's challenge are on for the whole month of May, I put them on temporary hold for the weekend.  Both Scrapbook Nerd and Big Picture Classes put fourth (May the 4th, get it, tee hee!) 10 challenges.  Of the 20 total challenges I got 15 done!!  Yes, I am impressed with myself and have patted myself on the back a few times already, I am not so humble ;-)

Both sites did an AMAZING job with their online crops and the inspiration was incredible!!  I'll have scraplifting material for months now!

The first challenge was an Early Bird Challenge from Scrapbook Nerds on Friday, and was a scraplift from one of the admins.  This was my version:

The next layout I combined two challenges - Scrapbook Nerds challenge to use no pattern paper, and BPC's challenge to hand journal.  Since I always hand journal, I changed it up by not using journalling lines:

This next layout also combines challenges - Scrapbook Nerds provided a sketch and specified the use of paint/ink/mist and a mask/template, and Big Picture Classes challenge to take a creative hike and try something new, which for me was using paint, random embellishing and only one small photo.

Scrapbook Nerd also had a second part to the above challenge, to make a card out of scraps from the layout:

Challenge #3 at Scrapbook Nerd was to create a card or cards with a focus on flowers:

Again another combination of challenges - Scrapbook Nerds colour palette and photo inspiration, and Big Picture Classes sketch and to scrap someone or something you love.  I love my DD's sense of style :-)

One of my favourite challenges by the Nerds was "May the 4's Be With You" - a site named Scrapbook Nerd HAD to celebrate Nerd Day in some way too!!  The challenge was to scrap a layout with as many groupings of 4's you could, ie. 4 brads, 4 stickers, 4 pieces of twine, etc.  I lost count of how many 4's I had, but it was enough to win the prize for this challenge so I was a happy girl :-)  Got one more of my MANY camping moments scrapped too!

Final challenge at Scrapbook Nerd was on Sunday evening and was a One Hour layout challenge based on a sketch.  This was an awesome challenge!!  Amazed at what everyone, including myself, produced in just an  hour!!

Last but not least, was a challenge by BPC to use a pocket page panel to include more photos on your layout.  I used a 6"x12" Flip Flap Memory Protector from CTMH and got 8 more photos to this layout:

 Here is the layout with the flap up:

 So there you have it, my very productive NSD weekend :-)  Already looking forward to next year!

A HUGE Thank You to both Scrapbook Nerd and Big Picture Classes for amazing online crops!!!

Happy Scrappin'!!


Friday, May 3, 2013

Happy National Scrapbooking Month!!!

I cannot believe it is May already!!  Crazy!

First big news - a week ago today my Nephew, Coleton James Marshall arrived into the world!!!  This makes me an Auntie for the 5th time and I am sooooo excited!  He is just gorgeous, with a head full of dark hair and cheeks I wish I was close enough to to squish :-)  Now we are just counting down the days till we can meet him this summer, and for now rely on daily photos from my sister, the proud new Momma :-)

Next, tomorrow is National Scrapbooking Day!!!  Whoot!  Whoot!!  I am handing the kids over to Daddy tomorrow and locking myself into my dungeon that is my craft room ALL DAY and NIGHT!!!!  Got my Coca Cola and Reese Pieces to keep me full of sugar and caffeine and my grapes to balance it out a bit (ha ha!) and I'm heading down there after the kids are in bed to tidy up and organize so I'm ready to go first thing tomorrow morning (or late tonight!).
I'll be following along with at least two online sites for NSD - first of course will be Let's Scrap, as part of their DT I'll be posting and hosting a challenge tomorrow - will try to get it posted here too but probably not till Monday (runs all month at Lets Scrap).  If you'd like to join in on the month long fun of challenges, sketches, and games click HERE: 

In addition to the festivities at Let's Scrap, I will be attempting to join in on some challenges over at Scrapbook Nerd for their first ever NSD celebrations!  If you'd like to join in on that fun with me, click HERE and head on over to the forum!

If for some reason these two sites do not keep me busy enough (ha ha!) you know that there is a ton of others celebrating this weekend too!!!  Or check out the sales at your Local Scrapbook Store!!!

Let's Scrap has their regular weekly sketch up also:

I love a sketch that holds multiple photos like this!  I'm not very good at paring down my photos so the more I can include on one page the better!  This sketch was perfect for some beach pics last summer and some scraps I had leftover from Echo Park's "Summer Days" - nice and bright and cheerful, my fav!!

Made some washi tape flags with some tooth pics too!

This one won't turn right side up, but you get the point - I made my first polaroid style photo matte and love the way it turned out!

I also got around to completing fellow DT member, Tiffany's challenge #160 - complete a layout using a Let's Scrap sketch, the theme "Spring" and including buttons, flowers and hand journalling.  I decided to scrap some wedding photos of myself that I had previously left out of my wedding album because I felt I looked goofy and "fat".  Now, 13 years later, I just see a happy bride and wish I was that "fat" again, tee hee!!  We really are our own worst critics hey?!  Anyhow, here it is, I used Bella Blvd. "Love and Marriage" mixed with a few other Bella lines:

Well my scrappy peeps, that is all for today, I have some prep work to do for tomorrow's festivities!!!

Happy National Scrapbooking Weekend!!!