Tag Archive | girlfriend getaway

Girls’ Getaway: Scrapbooking

This scrapbook page by my friend Paula is a slam dunk!

This scrapbook page by my friend Paula is a slam dunk!

By Karen Hendricks

Photos have a wonderful way of reconnecting us to treasured moments, past events and important people in our lives. But as a busy mom, I am guilty—like most of you too, I imagine—of leaving those precious photos on my digital camera cards, or on my iPhone way too long. I try to stay up-to-date with downloading them, organizing them, saving them to CDs and backing them up in the cloud. But printing them? That happens pretty infrequently, I’m sad to say.

So it was a joy to work with hundreds of photos this past weekend, and chip away at an on-going project: scrapbooks for all three of my children. My friend and fellow Off the Merry-Go-Round writer Ruth organized a scrapbooking girls’ getaway weekend at an area hotel. About 25 of us filled our vehicles with bins and crates bursting with albums, photos, scrapbooking supplies—and much smaller in comparison, our overnight bags. We gathered in the hotel conference room and “scrapped” to our hearts’ content from Friday afternoon straight through til Sunday around noon.

If you have never participated in an event like this, I highly recommend it! My fellow blogger Jen wrote previously about the benefits of girls’ getaways (click here). So not only does an event like this provide plenty of time to nurture friendships—both old and new—it also provides time to preserve some of your family’s history. My friend and fellow writer Chris has been writing about her incredible journey researching and preserving her family history (click here for her latest post). While scrapbooking was a popular hobby for the past few years, it is sadly trending downward in popularity. Perhaps the biggest reason is that it’s time-consuming. I am sticking with it, because I feel as though the results are worth the effort—scrapbooking is a modern way of preserving our family’s history. And it provides a fun, creative outlet!

Over the course of the weekend, there were women scrapbooking memories of Disney vacations, baby days, family weddings, 4th of July fireworks, lots of sporting events including basketball games and Super Bowls, even marathons they ran, and the list goes on and on… what a treasure trove of incredible moments in our lives. It was an inspirational weekend that provided a real sense of accomplishment for all of us. Even though my oldest daughter is in college, her scrapbook was stuck in the 5th grade. At the end of the weekend, at least I brought her into the middle school years! Enjoy these photos, chronicling our fun—and creative—weekend:

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Setting the scene… scrapbooking madness is underway!

Diane even has a supply of ribbons, organized by color, to embellish her pages... wow!

Diane even has a supply of ribbons, organized by color, to embellish her pages… wow!

Memories of a Christmas cookie marathon... mmmm

Mmmmm… Memories of a Christmas cookie marathon, by Bev.

Beautiful fall memories... by Gretchen

Beautiful fall memories… by Gretchen

Scrapbooking takes a lot of energy... good thing we have Gary's Famous Chicken Corn Soup (made and delivered by Ruth's husband). Delish!

Scrapbooking takes a lot of energy… good thing we have Gary’s Famous Chicken Corn Soup (made and delivered by Ruth’s husband). Delish!

Scrapbooking smiles... Ruth and I

Scrapbooking smiles… Ruth and I

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My scrapbooking buddy Susan created an awesome Steelers page… that is quite a compliment coming from an Eagles fan 🙂

Heather's creativity sparked a spectacular fireworks page!

Heather’s creativity sparked a spectacular fireworks page!

The room as a ghost town by 1:30 am... Gretchen and I were the "last men standing."

The room was a ghost town by 1:30 am Friday night/Saturday morning… Gretchen and I were the “last men standing.”

What a creative Easter-themed page... love the photos trimmed into egg shapes.

What a creative Easter-themed page… love the photos trimmed into egg shapes.

Even a scrapbook page featuring photos from a whale watch!

Even a scrapbook page featuring photos from a whale watch!

Saturday night's dessert... Butterfinger Angel Food Delight

Saturday night’s dessert… Butterfinger Angel Food Delight

And this is what a scrapbooker's car looks like... all packed up and ready to head home. Great memories!

And this is what a scrapbooker’s car looks like… all packed up and ready to head home. Great memories!

Do you maintain family photo albums or scrapbooks? What are your tips for printing photos, journaling or scrapbooking? And have you taken the time for a “girls’ weekend?” We’d love to hear your stories…

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The Importance of Girlfriend Getaways

Reunion brunch with high school girlfriends.

By Jen Ashenfelter

When I jumped off the career merry-go-round to stay at home with Nick (and Chris a few years later), I had no idea the level of isolation that would follow. My social calendar—once filled with lunch dates or happy hours and weekend outings—was replaced with keeping baby fed, dry and happy 24/7, grabbing a quick shower whenever possible and catching up on household chores over the weekend…wash, rinse, repeat!

Of course there were play dates and an occasional gathering of friends and family, but always with toddlers, toys and training toilets in tow. Uninterrupted conversations among adults were rare and usually focused on kid stuff. But I really couldn’t complain; I was lucky to be a stay-at-home mom with a completely supportive husband. However, something was missing.

Beach weekend with my sister and two childhood best friends–ready for dinner in Atlantic City.

Where was ME?

Enter Oprah. (Besides watching endless episodes of Sesame Street and Thomas the Tank Engine, that daytime diva was 60-minutes of being connected to another adult female.) I can’t remember the details, but what I took away from one particular show was the importance of taking care of myself and the benefits of having girlfriends.

Research shows the health benefits women reap by having a network of friends: lower levels of stress and depression, improved mood, lower rates of heart disease and diabetes, delayed memory loss, longer life expectancy.

Equal Opportunity Friend Time: Just for the record, I think it’s important for women and men to have strong friendships and spend time with those people outside of work and family responsibilities.

Organizing free time with good friends is necessary. The health benefits are a plus—use those in your favor when telling the significant other you are headed out for the evening or a weekend away—but, for me, the biggest plus is simply the chance to reclaim me. I become Jen again…not “honey,” “mommy” or “ma’am.”

Newsflash: It’s not selfish to take the time to be you. Recharging is necessary to be a good mother, wife and friend. 

Since that ah-ha moment, in between working from home, managing the household, and driving around town to and from soccer and karate, I love to gather with girlfriends. For me, it started with organizing an afternoon with a close circle of girlfriends at a pottery workshop then dinner together afterwards.

My core group of friends has religiously gathered on the first Thursday evening of every other month at the same gal’s house for the past several years. I spend at least one weekend a year with my sister and two close childhood friends. I’ve reconnected with a group of work colleagues who were good friends before kids and new jobs; organized a reunion brunch with girlfriends from high school; and have gathered friends to enjoy special dinner events at a local teahouse.

Tips & Creative Ideas for Spending Time with Girlfriends:

A fun evening with the gals I used to work with.

  • Start with organizing a simple event with just a few friends—lunch and a special museum exhibit, coffee or cocktails at your house, or hosting an in-home-demonstration show.
  • Organize a gathering around different groups of friends–childhood friends, former coworkers, neighborhood moms or friends with a specific interest such as reading, dancing or photography.
  • If you organize it, they will come—go ahead and pick a date, time and activity and then invite friends. Trying to organize a fun time based on coordinating schedules and interests might prove challenging. It’s ok to be in charge of your gathering and coordinate the overall plans before requesting suggestions for the finer details.
  • Be flexible when organizing regular activities like a book club or game night—not everyone will make it all of the time, that’s ok.
  • When you’re ready to plan a weekend away, keep it simple, small and local like visiting the beach or getting pampered at a hotel spa in town. Organizing a weekend trip takes time, research and patience. Discover new places and activities in your own backyard for starters. Use social media, the internet or hotel concierge for sightseeing ideas/tours and dinner reservations.
  • Whether it’s an afternoon, night or weekend away, minimize cost and travel until you know everyone’s comfort level.
  • Don’t call or text home except maybe once a day. My husband and boys create their own Boys’ Night/Weekend when I’m out with girlfriends. Everyone enjoys their special time…and there’s truth to the saying: Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

A special evening at a local wine and tea dinner event.

Do you get together with girlfriends regularly or plan yearly getaways? Tell us about a favorite trip you took recently or share your creative ideas for gathering the girls together.