Day Dreaming; It's No Small Thing

I'm a dreamer. Always have been. It is not unusual for my husband to have a conversation with me, of which I can remember nothing because I was dreaming up the next big "thing". I think it's a family trait. My 13 y.o., Bree, is often daydreaming. And then there's my mom, it's not unusual for her to pull an "all-nighter" when inspiration hits.

And it works for me. Most of the time. But sometimes it's easy to get stuck in my own head. What I've come to realize is that most of the time what holds me back from really living my dreams is fear ... fear of failure, fear of not being good enough ... yada, yada.
As a mother I am teaching my children to follow their dreams, to be who they want to be; not who friends think they should be. Shouldn't it be the same for me?

My Mom asked me the other day what are the things I enjoy doing and find fulfillment in. There are many things that make me happy but ultimately when I am sharing and being a contribution in other people's lives, I am happy. I am filled. This time of my life (being a mom & wife, working, PTA, church duties, etc.), it is very easy to only finish the "must do's" and leave no time for the me. No time for the projects and dreams that are in my heart. But if not now, when?

So I'm making a pact. Between you and me. I'm giving up the fear and replacing it with courage. Courage to pursue those dreams. Even if it's only minutes each day. It's something. And that is no small thing.

Carrie Keele
(a.k.a. "DearMYRTLE's daughter)

Preserving Scrapbooks From The Past: Canon DSLR vs. Flip-Pal

Over the river and through the woods, literally, to Great-Grandma Lois’ house we go! My husband’s mother’s, mother, Lois (Jeppson Hatch) Wells lives in a cabin in the mountains. From the main highway, you cross an ancient, wooden, rickety bridge (with only room for one car at a time) and no guardrails. Each time we cross, I half expect this is the time it will finally give way to the river below. A dirt road with sharp switchbacks leads to the cabin that the Hatch’s built in the 70s. The familiar flamingo pink trimmed balcony brings a smile to your face and stirs memories of summers past.

Everyone loves Grandma’s house. Removed from technology with only one (corded) white telephone to reach the outside world, you can literally breathe deeper. Life moves just a little slower and there’s more time for conversations and memory sharing. Last summer we had the chance to stay at the cabin for several days as family gathered to celebrate Lois’ 90th birthday party.

During this visit I realized that while Lois was quite healthy and active for her age, she was slowing down. She has stories to tell and memories to share that I want my kids to remember.  Using my iPhone we recorded several impromptu interviews and cherished the stories.  We also explored her bookshelves upon bookshelves lined with old picture albums. She has hundreds of pictures from years past, most of them being non-archival, sticky albums. You know the ones that we all used until we realized it’s a black hole that slowly disintegrates your precious memories.

Since I hadn’t planned on doing anything more than celebrating with family, I hadn’t thought to bring my Flip Pal with me. No matter, I thought. I’ve got a great digital SLR … I’ll capture the pictures with my camera. Ummmmm, easier said than done. I tried three different locations and numerous angles but was never completely satisfied with the glare, distortion, blur, etc. (If you have ever tried to take pictures of pictures in albums, you’ll know exactly what I mean.) I even tried to jimmy-rig my tripod to make it work. I ended up with a few “okay” pictures, but nothing that was nearly as good as the original. I’m almost too embarrassed to post the proof!
Oh yes, there are more.  I really wanted some decent shots!

Learn from my failures, don’t do it the hard way!

Just a few weeks ago we spent a day with Lois on the way to Washington for a family vacation. This time I came prepared with my trusty Flip Pal. Much to the delight of my mother, AKA DearMYRTLE, I couldn’t wait to grab some albums and try it out.. My mom snapped these pictures while I happily scanned. I loved that I could easily sit and chat with the family while scanning away. I didn’t need to worry about lighting or even devoting my attention to capturing the pictures.
I love that my children were "into" it and wanted to hear more!

The best part? The look on Lois’ face as she watched me use this mysterious gadget. Remember, technology has not touched this cabin in the woods. The one computer that was purchased for her years ago sits untouched upstairs covered by a towel. (I think it has Windows 95 on it!) It is only used once a year to write a family Christmas letter. I explained to her that the Flip Pal is a scanner that uses batteries to operate. The touch of a button and about 5 seconds is all that it takes to get a beautiful scan. And the Flip-Pal software intuitively “stitches” scans together so I could easily scan whole pages of her albums. She shook her head in amazement at this world that we live in. While she mostly scoffs at technology and the “waste of time” it is and how impersonal it is, she actually said, “Well, isn’t that is a great little tool!”
So next time you head to Grandma’s make sure to pack your Flip Pal as you never know when it will come in handy. After all, Great-grandma Lois approves!

Carrie Keele
(a.k.a. "DearMYRTLE's daughter)

Printable Calendars, Planners and MORE!

"Presentation is half the battle." And I LOVE pretty things. Somehow, if I've got a graphically designed calendar or a super cute planner I suddenly become more productive. Maybe it's a girl-thing. Yesterday as I was getting paperwork ready for my first PTA meeting as Council President, I was working on the agenda (ho-hum) and knew I needed to add some graphical touches. Bree, my cute teenager, smiled as complimented it. (Bree is the artist in the family!)

Now, here's the thing. If you're not an artist or a graphic designer ... it's doesn't mean you can't enjoy the cuter things in life! I am constantly finding stylish printables & templates to fit my needs. Here are just a few of my current favs:

blank daily printable planner for mothers
1. Routine Planner and Daily Schedule for Mothers from Love the colors here. You can create a daily routine as a "guide" and then individualize the days.

2. Free Financial Printable from Budgeting ... not normally a fun subject. But I think these are just the dose of fun my budget needs!
Fab N Free: Free Weekly Menu Planner Printable
3. Weekly Menu Plan from Next to budgeting this is probably the second most avoided topic in the house. And don't you dare ask, "What's for Dinner??" But what if you planned out 4 weeks and rotated them in a picture frame? Genius!!

i heart organizing printables
4. Daily Planner from You can find many printables for free (and I do!) but sometimes to get the really good stuff you've got to be willing to pay for it. And really, if you are really going to use it, shouldn't we support the artists? Jennifer Jones is a brilliant designer and I just love the her style. she not only shows you how to use the elements together, but allows you to purchase that the products that you would actually use. LOVE!

Printable blog planner
5. How about a Blog Planner from She breaks it down in a video with how to put it together and how to use it to plan a fabulous blog. Great ideas!

People are always telling me how creative I am ... if only they knew! ;)

Carrie Keele
(a.k.a. "DearMYRTLE's daughter)