Thursday, December 30, 2010

A memo to certain toy makers

Date: December 30, 2010
From: Liz Butler
To: The manufacturers of the following toys:
Zhu Zhu Pets
My Littlest Pet Shop
My Little Pony
Polly Pocket
NERF guns

Please do forgive my Debbie Downer moment, but I would like to take this opportunity to inform you that I officially HATE YOU!

Sincerely yours,
The person who is tired of picking up ALL of the tiny pieces that go with your toys, but are left around all over the house.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Project Life 2011

Ever since I started teaching LO classes and working for my LSS, scrapbooking for myself is one of the last things I make time for. Ridiculous, I know, since I enjoy it so much! So, I decided to keep it sweet and simple I'd give Becky Higgins' 2011 Project Life a try. So I went here and ordered it, in the turquoise edition. And I am SO excited!

Now don't get me wrong, I'm still planning on scrapbooking traditional LOs. But maybe this will help me stay current while documenting all the little things in our everyday lives, something I must confess I haven't been very good at. It will also help me accomplish a goal I've tried, unsuccessfully, on numerous occasions ~ taking a photo a day. Not just for the month of May as you've seen me do here before, but for the ENTIRE YEAR! Yikes! I'm hoping that that in turn will help me improve my photography skills.

WOW! Apparently, I've got some seriously high expectations of this little endeavor I'm embarking on, huh?

Anyway, wish me luck! I'll update you on my progress as soon as I receive it and get started.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rocky the Rock Star

As I previously mentioned, we are now the crazy happy owners of yet another four legged friend.

Lottie, our awesome pet sitter, had been fostering "Little Boy" (she already has 4 other dogs, so she didn't name him to ensure he wouldn't stay) for a little over three months. Suddenly, it hit her like a ton of bricks,... the Butlers! "Scott and Liz are huge suckers pet lovers. With two dogs, two cats and two kids, surely Liz wouldn't mind another dog,... " And the killer is I thought she really liked us,... Anyway, she brought "Little Boy" over one night and we all fell in love. Instantly! However, with us being strangers in his book, he wasn't sure about any of us at first. And trust me, that is an important bit of information, considering the story I'm about to share.

Since "Little Boy" was an unofficial "stray", a visit to the vet was priority numero uno.  I mean, we wouldn't want to put our other dogs in harm's way. So I scheduled an appointment bright and early for that next day, and Sam and I took him to the vet's office. While I was unbuckling Sam from his car seat, "Little Boy" somehow managed to get out of his collar and run for his life. I quickly panicked and looked around. Needless to say, I was quite relieved that the parking lot was completely fenced in, so Sam and I walked in his general direction to see if could somehow get him back. A task I knew would be easier said than done, since he didn't even know us yet, but I had to give it a try. However, being that he is a Beagle, he managed to find the one tiny opening in the fence to fit himself through. What's behind the fence, you ask? WOODS! Nice lush, heavy woods. CRAP!

I ran into the vet's office and explained my dilemma. Other than give me a couple of treats, helping me was apparently not on their agenda for the day. Lovely! So, Sam and I go back outside and try, very unsuccessfully, to call him and lure him in our direction. Nothing. The dog would look at us and high tail it deeper into the woods. Did I mention that it was freezing outside? I had to put Sam back in the van with the heater on and a DVD so that I could continue trying to get this darn dog who (a) doesn't know me and (b) is scared half to death to come to me. Yeah, it wasn't gonna happen!

Finally, I decide I've had enough and I call Scott to let him know I had somehow managed to lose our brand new dog. He immediately leaves work and meets me in the woods behind the vet's office. On one side of the vet's office there's a day care center. On the other, there's a pest control business. An employee from the pest control business came out and kindly offered to help. So now you have two grown men, dressed in work clothes, with big black coats on, walking around the woods, in the middle of the day, calling "Little Boy!" "Come here, Little Boy", "You want a treat, Little Boy?",... Yeah, get the picture? I'm surprised the day care center didn't call the cops on us. LOL

After three hours, we called off the search. Not because we couldn't find him (he made sure to stay where we could see him at all times), but because he just didn't want to get caught. And besides, Scott had to go back to work for a meeting, it was time for me to go pick Isabella up from school, and Sam had had it being stuck in the van for so long. On my way to Isabella's school, I armed myself with as much courage as I could muster and I called Lottie. I left her a message to call me as soon as she could.

A while later I got her call. She thought I was calling to tell her it didn't work out with the dog, little did she know, huh? I tried to explain what happened earlier in the day, but I totally lost it and started crying before I could explain that the dog was still stuck in the woods.  Actually, it seems so funny to me know as I type this. But trust me, it was anything but funny on that cold, stressful day.

Lottie decided that she and her husband would swing by and see what they could do to get him out. About an hour later, Lottie called and said they had "Little Boy". Initially, he wouldn't come to them and ran away from them every time they got too close, just as he had done with us. But then they went home and got one of their other dogs, who was his buddy while he lived with them, and Little Boy came right out.

Luckily, I got this call before picking Isabella up, so it was business as usual as far as she was concerned. I called Scott and gave him the news, to which he said: "We should do something really nice for Lottie", and I replied: "Yeah, we should totally give her a Beagle!". Anyway, needless to say, he's been with us for almost a month now.

The kids named him Rocky, cause apparently he's a rock star. I had quite a few other names in mind, but in the interest of keeping things PG in the ol' blog, I think I'll just keep those to myself.

Regardless, he has managed to make himself right at home and fit right in this little zoo family of ours.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Favorites

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. 
I know we did. 
It was fun and magical and happy and exciting,
and everything else you expect Christmas morning to be.

Here are a few of our favorite things:

Our tree on Christmas morning:
I love this sight!

Among many of the toys received,
Sam loved his new plasmacar...
WOW! Check out that hair ;)

his first ever Nerf gun...
HA! I love that face.

and the Nerf sword he got from (and immediately tried out on) his Uncle Chris.

Isabella loved her Zhu Zhu Pets...

but the highlight for her, was her new Jessie doll:

 So much so, she ran and got her own Jessie hat from her Halloween costume
and wore it for most of the day.

She even wore it to Tata and Papa Abu's place 
for Christmas lunch and more presents.
 Here the ladies are very excited about Isabella's new Easy Bake Oven.

Scott opened quite a few gifts, but this was his favorite.
Yeah, it was supposed to be for the kids,...
but actually, he's played with it the most.
Well played, Butler. Well played! 

After years of coveting it, I finally got:
my very own Willow Tree Nativity.
Sigh! Isn't it gorgeous?

And Scott REALLY surprised me with this:
YAY! I can't wait to get out there and put it to good use!

So there you have it.
Our Christmas in a nutshell.

Hope yours was merry and bright!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
 Isaiah 9:6
From our home to yours,

Merry Christmas!
Signing off for the weekend. 
See you next week!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Favorite Christmas Movies

So, everyone knows I love me some Christmas,
and I love me some movies.

The following are my/our favorite Christmas movies, 
which have been playing constantly in our house for the last few days:

I mean seriously,... 
It's Will Ferrell. 
In tights.
Need I say more? 
This is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. 
I love that Isabella and Sam actually request it by name and
they both love to sit and watch it.
Over and over and over again!

Christmas Vacation
And crack up we do! 
Every single time I watch this movie I find something 
new/different that makes me laugh. 
And I do mean laugh! 
This is Chevy Chase at his finest!
And holiday chaos at its best!

A Charlie Brown Christmas
This is definitely a classic for me and Scott.
The kids just started getting into Charlie Brown and the gang.
And I love that.
And I love Linus' monologue about Christmas.
When he takes the stage, dims the lights, quotes the Gospel of Luke, 
and schools Charlie Brown on what Christmas is really about,... 
well, it makes me want to jump up and down with joy and cheer him on.
He gets it!!!!

The Family Stone
I absolutely LOVE this movie.
Everything about it!
I love how dysfunctional, yet close this family is.
I love the characters and their quirks.
I love the reality of the family dynamics.
And I am totally head over heels in LOVE with their house:
Without fail, every time I watch it I laugh and I cry.

And just to make sure I keep it real on the ole' blog,
following are some of the Christmas classics I've never seen:
I know, I know...
That's pretty sad, huh?

So there you have it.
What are some of your favorite Christmas movies?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

I know, I've been AWOL for, like, ever! And I am so very sorry about that. But I'm going to attempt to catch you up with our comings and goings in this here post. Here we go....

(1) I've been in the worst funk lately. And I hate it. I hate it because it does nothing but heighten my feelings of being out of control, overwhelmed, sad and feeling super tired. I hate it because I'm not taking the time to really sit and enjoy ALL the good things going on around me. And I especially hate it because this is my most favorite time of year and it'll be over before I know it, and I would have wasted it by being in a terrible funk. So, I am trying as hard as I can to snap out of it,... PRONTO!

(2) After our Jacksonville trip, our pet sitter called and told us she was fostering a year-old beagle she found roaming around her place, but he really needed a permanent home, and she was sure we would love him and he would fit right in. Being the suckers pet lovers that we are, we told her to bring him by so we could meet him. In hindsight, maybe we shouldn't have agreed to our little meet-n-greet. Meet Rocky, the new addition to our family:
Don't let his adorable face fool you,... he's a very active puppy, who loves to chew (anything and everything!), run and play, and hates being crated. With Copper being 10 years old and Mick being 8, this crazy puppy stage was nothing but a very distant memory. Oy vey!

(3) Our household has been hit HARD with illnesses in these last few weeks; sinus and ear infections, 24-hour stomach bugs, the flu, more 24-48-hour stomach bugs.... it's enough to drive anyone crazy! I think we're finally starting to see the light at the end of this germ-infested tunnel. And I, for one, could not be happier!

(4) The kids have loved their Advent Calendar this year. It's filled with all kinds of fun events, including reading Christmas books, watching Christmas movies, baking cookies, driving around to see the lights, Christmas crafts, and so on. One of their favorite activities was when we decorated our gingerbread house. I thought instead of buying one house, we could get a village and that would surely minimize the arguing that can be heard around our house ALL. THE. TIME! Anyway, they had a blast decorating their houses.
As you can see, most of the icing was actually consumed, but they did manage to incorporate some into their decor. Much fun was had by all!

(5) We visited Alpine Village again this year and the kids LOVED every minute of it!  I love this little family tradition of ours and I love that even though this was our sixth consecutive year of attending, we all still have a great time. This year we took my mom and my niece along with us, and based on their reaction, I'm pretty sure they'll be coming with us again in the future.

(6) Sam participated in his first ever Mother's Day Out Christmas program. Can you say ADORABLE? His class sang Jingle Bells and two other songs, and he did such a good job. He was so very proud of himself up on that stage. And don't even get me started on how proud we were of him. He is such a ham! A natural performer...

(7) We celebrated Christmas with my in-laws this past weekend and had a great time catching up, exchanging presents and "doing" some wonderful art projects. My MIL is an unbelievably talented artist. She and Isabella shared some creative quality time in her amazing art studio.
She even managed to send me home with a bunch of art supplies,... I can't wait to get started, but I must warn you, to avoid some serious disappointment, you best keep your expectations low.

(8) We visited the Christmas Wonderland light display in Alton, IL. It had been years since the last time we went and I knew the kids would absolutely love it. You drive a mile and a half route decorated with millions of lights, hundreds of displays, and there's even a petting zoo. The one word I'd use to describe it is magical. The car was filled with little oohs and ahhs throughout the entire drive. Memphis has a similar concept called Starry Nights, and even though it's nice, in my opinion it pales in comparison to Alton's Christmas Wonderland. I'm so glad we were able to fit it into our visit.

(9) Our Christmas tree is finally up and decorated. Remember the funk I wrote about in (1), well the Christmas tree/decor situation did not help with it. When we finally brought the tree down from the attic, about half the lights weren't working. So after I had myself a good cry, I went out and bought us a new unlit tree and a bunch of strands of colorful lights, per Isabella's request. So even though our tree looks totally different than it ever has (yeah, I'm pretty much ALL about white/clear lights), I love it! It's fun and bright and colorful and happy!
And the best part was the kids' reaction the first time they saw it and all the comments they've made about their colorful tree ever since. I think having it up and decorated has certainly lightened all of our spirits. Now, if only I could get our Christmas cards sent...

(10) For those of you with children who believe in Santa, you must send them one of the Portable North Pole Santa messages. My kids went crazy when they first watched it. So cute! There's also an adult version you can send. So go check it out and send it to your favorite people!

Well, I think that about covers it . Once again, I am so sorry for my extended absence. But thanks for hanging in there with me.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The 12 Tags of Christmas Sneak Peek

They say giving is better than receiving,... and I wholeheartedly agree!
Especially when the gifts are dressed with beautiful one-of-a-kind gift tags,... 
like these here beauties:


Join me for the 12 Tags of Christmas class next week and make gift tags that will be the perfect finishing touch for all of your beautifully wrapped gifts this holiday season. Trust me, these are not your everyday, ordinary  store-bought gift tags ~ these will definitely let your recipients know that you think they are pretty special.

Not only will you leave class with 12 unique tags (that can also double up as ornaments), but you will get to check out plenty of fun and creative techniques in the process. Oh, and in the spirit of the season, and giving, all class participants will receive a little goody. But that'll be our little secret, OK?

So, join me:
Thursday, December 9
10:30 am & 6:30 pm

In addition to your basic tool kit, please bring your favorite glue dots, 
pop dots and a crop-a-dile or hole punch if you have one.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December SNL Sneak Peek

Baby, it's cold outside! 
But you don't have to stay all cooped up inside. 

Join me and Chelsea this coming Saturday for the last Saturday Night Layouts class of 2010. 
Unbelievable, isn't it?! 
It seems like it was just yesterday I was working on putting together fun Summer layouts for our June and July classes.

Anyway, with themes like Winter Wonderland, Christmas, Party, Jack Frost, Me & Santa and Happy Holidays, there's sure to be something to satisfy everyone's crafty cravings!

Stop by Eclectica or call 901-377-0730 to sign up today!

Saturday Night Layouts
Saturday, December 4, 2010
4-8 pm

See you Saturday!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Road Trip

After much harassment many reminders that the Jacksonville folks had come to visit us in Memphis quite a few times, but that we had not been to Jacksonville to visit them in FOREVER, we decided that Thanksgiving would be the perfect time to head in that direction. And being that my parents were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary the same weekend, well... that was the perfect excuse for a big ol' family soiree. So in true Torres fashion, my younger brother and his family made a little pit stop in Jacksonville during their time in Orlando.

Unfortunately, our weekend took a bit of a bittersweet turn when Yaira's grandmother passed away while we were visiting. But we are so glad to have been able to be there for her and her family during this difficult time. And we were still able to be together and squeeze in a little fun in the process.

The cousins were ecstatic to spend time together.
This bunch is pretty crazy about each other and they play 
so well (and so much) together it's easy for us adults to do our catching up.

We visited a local arts and crafts fair.

 Yeah,... we don't have these in our craft shows in Memphis.

Our awesome host and hostess:

We walked around downtown:

Visited the Jacksonville Landing:

And of course, celebrated my parent's anniversary with a wonderful family dinner.
40 years! 

We are so very grateful for these two.
They are such a great example for me and my brothers.
And they are SO loved!

Oh, how I love these pictures!
And how I love this crazy family of mine!

 I really wish that Yaira was in them. She is such a big part of our family!