Saturday, January 30, 2010

Three - a birthday story

My baby girl turned three on Thursday. I can not believe that she is so big already, and yet I can't imagine my life without her. I know that feeling started quickly. She was born not quite two weeks before her due date, and on her due date I wrote in my journal that I couldn't even imagine those two weeks without her in my life.

We were so excited that hubby was able to take the day off to hang out with us. I woke her up earlier than normal because I'd scheduled her three year check-up in the morning. Her daddy presented her with chocolate covered Hostess donuts (we only get these on vacations - what a treat!) for breakfast, and I dressed her in a cute little Scottie dog dress. (My college mascot is the Scottie dog, so there are a lot of them in this house.)

Abigail got to pick out two mini-muffins at My Favorite Muffin because she got a shot. She picked a sprinkle muffin and a double chocolate muffin. (I got strawberry.) She was so good at the doctor's office and even gave a high five! She can be so shy around strangers (and even people she knows well), so it was good to see her open up quickly.

We had lunch at Home Run Burgers and Fries. We were impressed with the choice of 25 free condiments (including fresh jalapeno slices and roasted red peppers), but not so impressed with the buns that fall apart as you pick them up. If you have a large selection of condiments, shouldn't you have buns that can hold up to them? Abigail seemed to enjoy her burger, fries and onion rings anyway.

As a special birthday treat, we spent a few hours at a local jumpy-place. These seem to be popping up everywhere these days. We've been to this one once before and Abigail actually played with children she didn't know, and wore herself out running around. We were pleased to see her actually talking to and interacting with other kids this time too.

For dinner, her daddy made homemade pizza. While it was baking, she and her daddy mixed up her strawberry cake so it could bake while we were eating. She was so excited to get to make her birthday cake. Normally, most of my cakes are made from scratch with a recipe but since she wanted to participate, we thought it would be easier to use a mix. After the cake cooled, she got to ice it (with help from Daddy) with the spatula we gave her for Christmas.

After dinner, Abigail got to open her presents, which included a book from one of my friends, and clothes and glow-bracelets from "Aunt" Heather. From Mommy and Daddy, she got chalk and dry erase markers to go with the easel she got for Christmas, paint, Winne-the-Pooh socks and a Curious George jumpy ball.

We still have parties planned for both sides of the family (it's a timing thing) and a small party with her friends. We're expecting a big winter storm this weekend, and after rescheduling her birthday party repeatedly last year, I thought I'd wait to set a date this year. I'm planning cake ideas. Abigail keeps requesting a strawberry cake with strawberry icing, and she enjoyed her pink iced cake last year too. I'm craving an Italian Cream cake with nuts, but it's not my birthday anymore.

Friday, January 29, 2010

LOAD is coming!

Have you heard about LOAD? Otherwise known as Layout a Day, it's a scrapbook challenge hosted by Lain Ehmann  and Tami Morrison .

I first participated in LOAD in January 2008, and I could not believe that I was able to get 31 pages done in 31 days. It was amazing. This year, I was lucky enough to win a spot in LOAD in a giveaway at Create Well, Create Often .

I am so excited that I will get to participate again this year. I made a list today of pages that I would like to get done in February. All I have to do is do a scrapbook layout, scan or photograph it and then load the image onto flickr. Lain has prompts, suggestions and the potential for prizes all ready for participants.

Sound interesting? Want to get a little extra scrapping done this winter? Check out the rules here on Lain's blog.

Relief Organizations not Accepting Breastmilk for Haiti

On Tuesday, I wrote about an urgent request for donations of breastmilk to send to Haiti. I looked into the request before writing about it and I felt it was a valid need. Any breastmilk that was unable to be used in Haiti would still be banked for use in the United States.

I learned today on msnbc.com that this request did not come from relief workers in Haiti and they do not have the resources or the infrastructure to use donated breastmilk. This was a grassroots effort started with good intentions by several breastfeeding friendly organizations. And there is still an urgent need for donations because the supply is low and newborns in the United States need the donated milk too.

I hope that if you were excited about the possibility of donating that you will still do so with the understanding that the donation is no longer for the children of Haiti.

Edited to add: Robin Elise Weiss at BirthActivist addresses the mention in today's article of best practices in a disaster . I'm so glad Robin brought it up, because I wasn't sure how to address it. Thanks, Robin!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Our Craft Play Group

I've wanted to start a toddler art group for a long time - ever since I first discovered The Artful Parent . I had recently started writing my blog (I think) and was reading First Art and Young At Art . I was discovering the idea of children doing art for the sake of doing it, without regard to the final product. I thought this was a wonderful concept, and I've been playing with paint, play-dough and crayons with my daughter without concern for what we're making (because it's not so much about making but about doing).

I haven't had the opportunity to start a toddler art group, partly because we live in a fairly rural area and partly because I don't currently have a space that would be welcoming to small children who might fling paint around. In September, though, I offered to take over the craft playgroup hosted by my moms' group, and I've been trying to come up with activities that children from 18 months to 5 years old can all do at the same time.

This is a more difficult task that it seems (or maybe I'm just making it hard). The skill and interest levels vary so widely for this age group! So far, I've been relying a whole lot on paint, because the babies can just use the paint anyway they want on anything the parent is ok with (paper or whatever surface we happen to be using), and the older kids can have a more structured activity without getting bored. At least, that's my hope. So far, I've only seen one child older than mine at craft group.

At our first group, we essentially played with paint. We had put marbles in paint, and then put the marbles in a box lined with paper, and showed the kids the designs they could make by moving the box.

At another meeting, we painted on placemats with dried leaves, which sort of worked. I don't know if the leaves were dryer than they should be, or if I was using the wrong kind of paint, but it didn't work as well as I'd hoped. We painted on the leaves, and then pressed them onto the cloth. I thought the impression would be darker than it was or something. It didn't seem to matter, though. The kids had so much painting the placemats. Unfortunately, I grossly overestimated how many kids would be at that meeting, and I now have a huge stash of blank placemats (paid for out of my personal spending money - ouch). I'm sure we'll do this craft again - without the leaves, maybe?

Next month, we're making cards for Valentine's Day, which I think will be a lot of fun. We're all bringing our own cardstock or card blanks (available at craft stores near the scrapbooking section) and paint, crayons, stickers, and other embellishments. I have yet to meet a kid who does love putting stickers on any available surface!

For Christmas, my Mama got Abigail and me a copy of Preschool Art by MaryAnn Kohl . (Ok, I found it at a used book store and told her about it, and she said it could be my Christmas present.) I've already got an idea lined up for our craft in March from that book.

What are some of your favorite open-ended art projects to do with your child (not pre-planned "the final result should look like this" that so often frustrate young children)?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Human Milk Donations for Infants in Haiti

I received an email last night informing me of an urgent call for donated breastmilk for infants in Haiti.
The Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC), International Lactation Consultant Association/ United States Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA/USLCA) , and La Leche League International (LLLI) are jointly issuing an urgent call for human milk donations for premature infants in Haiti, as well as sick and premature infants in the United States.

 The infrastructure for distribution is not complete yet, but the organizations involved would like to have the donors in place so things can progress quickly. If you want to know more, please visit the Human Milk Banking Association of North America or see this Call for Appropriate Infant and Young Child Feeding in Haiti  statement  from Unicef, World Heath Organization and the World Food Programme.

Why the call for human milk? Among other things, breastmilk does not require clean, fresh water, which is in short supply in Haiti.

If you can give in this way, please consider giving in another. Thank you.

Another Success

I forgot one thing to add to my list of successes from last week.

6. I took 15 books to Half Priced Books and sold them for cash. I didn't get much money at all, but the fact that I even removed books from house was huge. The books in question I had actually boxed up five years ago when we bought our house. I couldn't think of anything to do with them (they were either freebies or cheapies from my stint at the bookstore), and planned to take them to Goodwill. I just never made the trip. Now I have a little more space and a little more cash. Another plus? I didn't buy anything else at the bookstore that day!


 

Monday, January 25, 2010

Five Small Successes

The moms' group I belong to has an email list, and each week one of the moderators send out a list of five questions for us to answer. It's difficult with schedules and jobs and age ranges and lives for all of us moms to actually meet one another in person, so this is a helpful way for us to get to know each other. It also helps with conversation at playgroups because we already know a little about one another even if we haven't met before.

Anyway, this past Friday Dianna instead asked us what our five small successes of the week were. I've considered this thought all weekend and thought I'd share my answers here. Check out more about Small Successes  at Dianna's blog.) The idea is that we beat ourselves up so much over the things that we don't get done, and a list like this shows us what we have accomplished.


  1. Turned 35 without a single tear. This doesn't sound like a big success, but I promise you, turning 30 was a weep-fest. For weeks. So I'm impressed with myself that this milestone was no big deal.
  2. I got some paperwork dealt with that I've been avoiding for a while.
  3. I found some great deals on scrapbooking supplies and gifts for friends, including two books I wanted.
  4. I got Abigail's 3 year well-baby check-up scheduled before her birthday.
  5. I stayed on top of the laundry and actually got it folded the same day it was washed!
I may make this a part of my weekly blogging, too. I don't feel all that successful with this list. I feel like more of the list should be focused on my child. Perhaps that's part of the perfectionism that a list like this is supposed to curb?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Today. . .Birthday edition

Today is my 35th birthday. I don't feel older than yesterday. I was so afraid to turn thirty, because I couldn't fathom no longing being in my twenties. I keep reminding myself that several of my close friends never had the chance to turn thirty, and thirty-five is a gift.

Today I woke up earlier than usual in order to spend most of the day with my sister-in-law and my daughter, enjoying their company. I discovered lots of birthday greetings from Facebook friends when I checked my email. I took the extra time to apply makeup so I would feel my best.

Today I shopped at Archivers, Carlton Cards, Hallmark, and Hobby Lobby. I was able to get Lain Ehmann's Snippets and Ali Edwards' Sharing Your Story , two books I've wanted for a while and had not yet bought for myself. I also picked up some pocket page protectors and scrapbooking and Christmas supplies that were on clearance.

Today we had lunch at the California Pizza Kitchen. We split a carne asada pizza (a steak taco on a pizza crust - yum) and dumplings. Abigail got to have a free kid's meal because her birthday is a in week and she belongs to the CPK Kids Club. I enjoyed visiting with my sister-in-law, catching up on the latest news. We see each other almost weekly sometimes, but we always find things to talk about.

Today is it pouring down raining, but it's a happy day for me anyway. I'm in a great mood, despite the limited visibility and the traffic that made my drive home three times longer than usual.

Today I have been trying to decide what kind of cake I want to make. I actually enjoy making my own cakes (although I'm also not opposed to a cheesecake from my favorite local bakery). It will probably be a simple "birthday" cake, which in my family always meant a yellow cake with buttercream icing. I'll start working on it soon, but the potatoes are still in the oven for my birthday dinner.

I'm looking forward to enjoying the rest of my birthday. I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Forensic Mystery series - a review

My friend Heather is a middle school teacher (currently a stay at home mom to toddlers) who enjoys reading young adult literature. When she was here in November, she recommended that I read The Christopher Killer by Alane Ferguson. I promptly requested it from the library.

I finished The Christopher Killer in a couple of days during Thanksgiving week. (I don't watch football.) The book had an open ending, so I checked our library and found out there were two more books in the series (known as Forensic Mystery series), and requested those also. (I've since learned that there are actually four books in the series and I just finished it too.)

The series is about a high school senior named Cameryn whose father is the town coroner in Colorado. She and her father live with her Irish Catholic grandmother who believes that forensics are a dark art and will darken your soul. This is unfortunate because Cameryn's wish is to be a medical examiner someday. The series opens with Cameryn asking to be her father's assistant because the town (population 700) can't afford to hire one for him.

The story is face paced, not even getting bogged down by the descriptions of the autopsies or the crime scene details. The storyline that connects the books is compelling and I found myself wanting to know what happened next with Cameryn's family life as much as I wanted to solve the mystery. One of the points that I find interesting is that the town where they live is near Ouray and Durango, Colorado which are both towns I have been through. I enjoy being able to place the scenery in my mind.

There are a few things I had issues with though. I do not understand why the grandmother discourages Cameryn's career choice. I've never heard of forensics described as something evil or twisted. I've always thought it was an important tool for solving crime. I also felt there were a few minor plot holes, but I've found those in some of my favorite mystery books - Kathy Reichs has plot holes far more often that I'd like to admit. For example, there is a phrase in the third book that is important to the plot and takes a third of the book for the characters to understand. The phrase is one that not only was I already familiar with, but that I felt the characters should have understood themselves. The meaning is also easily found by entering it into Google (I found it in seconds with no problem) so I don't understand why Cameryn (who uses her computer regularly) would have not only not figured this out on her own but needed someone else to explain it to her also. It may be a minor issue, but it completely took me out of the story.

This book is appropriate for older teen, but I wouldn't recommend it for teens younger than 14 or so. If your child isn't old enough to watch CSI, then she isn't old enough to read this book. Keep in mind, also, that reading the details is different than watching it on a screen. The autopsy and crime scenes are described in great detail. There is one kissing scene in the second book, but it doesn't last very long because Cameryn thinks it's too soon to kiss. There is a lot of discussion about God and sin during some scenes that are from a Catholic viewpoint. The family is clearly Catholic, so if your faith disagrees with the points made it probably won't be a problem. If you're reading this book with your child, then it can generate discussion on the different beliefs among different denominations.

These books are definitely page turners, and I recommend them if you enjoy mysteries. They aren't "dumbed down" as young adult novels are accused of being. They don't contain rough language or adult situations. Again, I would still only recommend them for at least a 13 year old or older though because of the grisley nature of the story.

If you are interested in the series, these are the titles in order:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Julie & Julia - a few thoughts

My Mama saw Julie & Julia in the theater over the summer. She called me afterward and told me it was so funny, and it was about a woman who had a blog and then she wrote a book and then it was made into a movie! And she thought maybe I could do that.

I wasn't all that familiar with Julie Powell's story, but I have to say that the idea that writing a blog could in any way lead to writing a book has always appealed to me.

The movie came out just in time to be a great Christmas gift for Mama, and the big plus was that I finally got a chance to watch it too. Amy Adams is adorable and Meryl Streep blew me away. My favorite line, of course, is "I could blog! I have thoughts!"

I enjoyed the movie, but wasn't sure about reading the book. I'd read pretty awful reviews of it. In Chapter by Chapter, though, Heather Sellers suggests reading lots of books that are similar to the ones you want to write. I don't know if Julie & Julia qualifies as the kind of book I want to write, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to check her book out of the library.

I'm on page 19, where she and her husband are finishing the potato soup she just made, and I read: ". . .the silence broken only by the occasional snort of laughter as we watched a pert blonde high school student dust vampires on the television."*

So, maybe Julie is a kindred spirit after all. We'll see.

*Buffy the Vampire Slayer reference

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ten Years of Scrapbooking

Ten years ago today, I started scrapbooking. Sounds strange that I know exactly what day it is? Only if you don't know me. I tend to remember random things like that. Plus, I scrapbooked about the day (of course).

I had recently moved to Kentucky, and started a new job as an event coordinator at a bookstore (a chain, which made me oh-so-welcome to the locals). My previous job was as an (assistant) archivist at a historical society where we regularly received scrapbooks from the Junior League or that year's debutante season. These scrapbooks were made with the crumbly construction-paper book that many people think of as scrapbooking. These books are a nightmare for preservation, though. Because they were donated to the historical society as scrapbooks (and not as a collection of photos and memories), we were required to preserve them as as scrapbooks. The paper this kind of scrapbook is made of is acidic and unstable - they were constantly coming apart, coming unglued, pictures falling out, and the paper was deteriorating regardless of what we did to it. I learned to hate scrapbooks.

One day I casually mentioned during lunch at my new job at the bookstore that someday I wanted to teach people about scrapbooks and how to make them so they didn't fall apart. One of my friends looked at me and said "You plan events for a living. Plan an event about scrapbooking." She told me about a scrapbook store down the street from us and suggested I go talk to the owners.

I told the owners that I wanted to have a workshop/presentation at the store about scrapbooking and how to do it properly. She asked if I had ever scrapbooked before, and I said no. She said that the store would work with me on the project but under one condition - I had to take their beginner scrapbooking class that was being held that Saturday.

I went to the class expecting to waste a couple of hours and a few dollars (I was trying to figure out how to convince my boss to let me comp it, actually). I brought some photos of a weekend trip that my boyfriend (now husband) had gone on when we lived 500 miles apart and only saw each other every six weeks or so. I left with a completed two page layout that I loved (still one of my favorites) that documented a special time in our lives, and an assortment of scrapbook supplies so I could do home and make more.

I still did the presentation at the store, and we still talked about the proper way to preserve photos, but I no longer had the air of superiority or condescension that I'd started with. I realized that putting my photos on pretty paper and giving them context was an enjoyable way to spend my time.

Ten years is a long time. Here's a few changes that have occurred for me since that day (in no particular order):
  • that boyfriend and I got engaged
  • then we got married
  • I got laid off from my job
  • I found a new job I loved
  • we moved - twice
  • we had a baby
  • I quit my job
  • one brother got married
  • one brother graduated from high school
  • my grandparents had their 50th wedding anniversary
  • our nephew was born
  • our niece was born
  • we've traveled to Chicago (3 times)
  • we went to St. Augustine
  • we've also been to Ohio, Florida and Georgia many times
  • I was a bridesmaid in two weddings, and we attended many others
  • I turned 30
  • my granddaddy passed away
Since I've been scrapbooking all this time, you'd think I would have scrapbooked all of these events and more, right? Especially considering the number of mostly completed scrapbooks that are sitting on my shelf. Would you be surprised to learn what I haven't scrapbooked in the last ten years?

Things I Haven't Scrapbooked
  • my baby's first year - Nope, haven't done it. I have done pages about her, and I have notes and (of course) lots of photos. But there is no completed scrapbook of her first year yet.
  • my wedding - I didn't have a photographer's studio book of my wedding, so the only scrapbooking I've done is putting my favorite photos from our photographer into an album with our wedding colors. As far as journaling and doing an elaborate scrapbook, it hasn't happened. I really want to do it, but it just feels too huge.
  • our vacations - I've started scrapbooks for our honeymoon, our trips to Chicago, and our trips to Ohio. I purchased supplies for our trip to St. Augustine. I haven't finished any of these albums.
  • our engagement - I haven't scrapbooked our proposal. It's really a very sweet story. I'm still kicking myself for not taking my camera that day, though.
  • holidays - I haven't scrapbooked about Christmas in two years at least, and I haven't done a single page about our daughter's birthdays.
So what am I scrapbooking about? Whatever strikes my fancy at the time. I have pages about our personalities, our quirks, members of our families, places we like to go, an average day around our house. I've never felt behind, and I'll never be "caught up." I don't have a 2009 album or a 2000 album. When I first started, I did have the idea that I had to scrapbook everything we did and it all had to be in order, but now I love turning pages and seeing a layout about yesterday next to one from eight or nine years ago.

I hope that my story will help someone else realize that it's ok if you haven't finished your five year old's scrapbook about her first year. You can still scrapbook the cute thing she said this afternoon.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Friendship Blogger Award


I was awarded this Friendship Award by April of Capture the Memories so long ago (I had trouble learning how to post the icon here). I met April through Library of Memories some time ago. It's still strange to me that I can make friends through an online class, and yet there it is. The internet is strange and wonderful.

So now I'll pass this award on to five bloggers who I consider to be my friends. (If I only use the blog name it's because I'm not sure if they use their real name online.)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Snow Bound Activity - Pretzel Dipping

I wish I had some pictures to show you, but I still am struggling with Photoshop Elements 8 and we ate these far too quickly to bother with photos.

We woke up Thursday morning to snow, so Abigail and I haven't left the house even to get the mail. That's the kind of winter person I am. (Well, hubby and I did take her sledding the backyard this afternoon, but we'd already dipped pretzels twice by then.)  I just don't like to be cold!

Abigail and I spent about 20 minutes on Friday afternoon dipping pretzels into melted white chocolate (actually white candy melts, but I'm not going to nit-pick). Our particular melts were pink. I can't remember if I bought them for something specific or if I just liked the color that day.

I happen to buy candy melts occasionally when they're on sale, and regardless of what the package says, they will keep (even in a cabinet) for quite a while. They come in all kinds of colors, and take only a few minutes to melt in the microwave. I know there are people who have issues with candy melts, but I think those are the same people who are going to have issues with the whole concept of this craft/snack. I can deal with that. In my house, sometimes we eat junk. We also eat our vegetables, so I think it evens out.

I love salty-sweet snacks, and Abigail needed something fun and creative to do. Fortunately, we'd recently set in a supply of pretzels, but this could be done with marshmallows, various cereals, etc. I actually dipped a few pecans. I even broke a few pecan pieces and stuck them into the chocolate on the pretzel. Yum.

On Saturday, we did the activity again with hubby, who asked for Ritz crackers. I'd forgotten how yummy Ritz crackers are dipped in white chocolate. They're even better with peanut butter sandwiched and then dipped, but we didn't go that far. Today.

I think there will still be snow tomorrow. . .

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Today. . .

Outside my window... about two inches of snow and more falling. I love the way it looks. I don't love that my husband has to drive home in it.

I am thinking... that keeping focus is hard. I really need to work on it.

I am thankful for... being able to stay home with my daughter - especially on days like this.

I am wearing... sweatpants and a chocolate brown Life Is Good shirt that I bought on clearance two years ago.

I am creating... an apron, a plushie piggie, and hopefully an essay

I am remembering... how exciting and comfy-cozy the idea of snow is. The thought of staying inside, where it's warm, and eating soup, drinking hot cocoa and being isolated from the world - that's what I always expect. It's not always reality.

I am going... to stay home. Maybe venture out to the mailbox and to my rosemary bush. My rosemary might prefer to be left alone though.

I am reading... Page By Page by Heather Sellers. Again. I am trying (once again) to absorb the lessons. I am planning to actually DO some of the exercises this time!

I am hoping... I can get some fabric ironed this afternoon and start on Abigail's birthday present.

On my mind... writing.

From the learning rooms... first drafts aren't final drafts. I have always had trouble with this. I struggle with the concept of revision!

Pondering these words... courage

From the kitchen... about to start the "Mommy chicken" and "Mommy tatos" that are a staple lunch around here. I've mentioned this before, I know.

Around the house... puzzle pieces, shoes and plastic fish and fishing pole are evidence of what we've been playing for the past 24 hours or so (fishing, puzzles, and "let's try on all our shoes" in case it wasn't obvious).

One of my favorite things ~ Abigail

A few plans for the rest of the week:  staying home the rest of the week. I think I used up all my gumption on Tuesday.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Current Addictions

Well, I guess the title "current addictions" doesn't really go along with my new theme for 2010, unless you consider that I'm willing to share them publicly. That's courageous, right?

This morning, I was inspired by The Artful Parent in sharing her current addictions, and I thought I'd share mine here too, instead of just burying them in her comments section (which I also did, of course).

  1. Books on writing - It should come as no surprise to regular readers that I like to read (I will stop short of saying "addicted to read" although I know there are some who would categorize it that way). I got several books for Christmas, and I'm excited about reading them all, but this phase was started by finding Chapter By Chapter by Heather Sellers on the shelves of Half Priced Books three days after Christmas. I've wanted to read the book for a while (loved Page By Page), and I've completely devoured the book. And then, instead of taking Heather's advice and writing, I raided my own bookshelf of writing books and pulled down The Right to Write by Julia Cameron which I bought years ago and never managed to read. I am thoroughly convinced that this reading time will pay off soon.
  2. Trailer Trash Toffee - I attended a cookie exchange just before Christmas sponsored by my moms' group, and I got to try this cookie/candy for the first time. I know it's a simple recipe and has saltines as the base. I hid it from my family and only let my mom and husband have the tiniest of tastes. I don't like the name (I'm Southern and wasn't wealthy - I'm not a fan of slurs), so I'll be coming up with a new one when I attempt this recipe. I just can't stop thinking about it now that it's gone.
  3. Castle on dvd - I love Nathan Fillion and have since his days on Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place (he was Johnny, the hunky boyfriend). Then he was on Firefly which may be my favorite tv show of all time. He's got a great sense of timing; it's a crime show (which I seem to be pretty into - Bones is my other favorite); and there's great chemistry with Stana Katic, who plays the detective. And is it my imagination, or did Nathan Fillion say "Five by five" during episode 1.9? Joss Whedon references crack me up.
  4. Simple Scrapbooking - my current version is something I learned about in Ali Edwards' class Yesterday + Today. I take divided 12x12 page protectors (with 6 4x6 pockets that can hold up to 12 photos), and insert various memorabilia with notes giving context. I've gotten some of my memorabilia out of the way, preserved and documented, and I feel productive.

So what are your current addictions?