Girls Weekend

I just came back last week from travelling stateside with one of my best friends.  Bec invited me to tag along on her annual summer trip to the United States.  Each year they visit the Fiestaware factory in West Virginia, do some shopping in Pennsylvania and a few stops in between.

We left Sunday morning last week for three days.  We spent the morning shopping in Buffalo before heading out to Erie, Pennsylvania.  We took a scenic route “detour” before connecting to one of the main interstates.  It was amazing seeing the difference in homes, in the architecture, the abandoned old buildings, and all of the textures and colours were just amazing in contrast to home.  If I make the trip again I would to be able to take the time to be able to stop and walk around and take it all in.

On our detour because we didn’t have the actual address of the hotel I took us to a central point in Erie and as we arrived and were turning around I yelled from the backseat, “It’s  Penn State! IT’S PENN STATE!”.  We happened to be turning around at the entrance to the Penn State Erie Campus.  UM I died.  In high school my ex-husband, and I were huge college sports fans.  He cheered for Michigan and I cheered for Penn State.  So needless to say to be standing there right in front of Penn State was pretty surreal, considering I never even factored in that I would see it.

Bec humoured me to so I could get a photo or two before we headed off to check into our room.  I only had my Samsung Note 3 with me for photos but it worked perfect for the trip. I wish I had thought to get a picture of me in front of the sign or elsewhere on campus.  I think I was too in shock that I was really there!  It was a great surprise start to the trip.

After a busy first day of travelling, dinner, and lots of shopping we headed back to our hotel to see this beautiful sunset.  Then I chatted with my family at home before Nana sent me a picture of the boys together at bed time.  Loved this little reminder from home.

Our second day of the trip saw us on the road again.  This time we travelled from Pennsylvania, through Ohio and into West Virginia.  What was waiting for us? The Fiestaware factory.  Oh, I knew it was going to be good, but oh was it good.

Oh the colour, the colour upon colour, and did I mention the beautiful colour?  I have a small selection of Fiestaware pieces that Bec has been bringing me back over the years,  I was so excited to just take it all in.

I love all the blues and greens and yellows, and the new slate grey is amazing.  But how could you just choose one colour?  Am I right?  The rainbow of colour here just made me happy.

Beyond the dishes, oh the building, the building itself was old and filled with textures and colours and aged beauty.  I could have taken photographs of their building for days. The view across to Ohio was equally breathtaking.

The food on our trip was pretty awesome too.  I had Haribo gummy bears for the first time ever on this trip.  Um, yum!  How had I not had these before.  All of our meals were pretty great but I enjoyed our endless apps at TGIFs the most.

Also, another pretty awesome part of our trip was that the number 16 Cheez-it race care happened to be at our Hotel, my boys were super excited to see the pictures I sent home to them when I saw it.  Both of my boys are huge NASCAR fans.  Thanks Greg Biffle and team!
We had a pretty great girls weekend that ended up being full of surprises, adventure, lots of miles logged, Starbucks consumed, and many, many shopping bags.  Until the next road trip state side!  Four states, three days, you were fun!



Summer | a Project Life layout

I have started going back through my 2014 album and am filling the missing spaces in it and creating the last layouts to finish off 2014.  Being on Becky Higgins Project Life Creative Team really helped keep my album on track and filled up.  The last few months of the year were especially hard because we were prepping our house to sell, packing to move, and then the big move right before Christmas.  It was a crazy four months, but worth it.

Here I created a pool day layout from our time spend swimming at my Cousin’s home last summer.  I have a little fuji camera that does underwater shots which was just perfect for this little day in the pool we had.Tara McKernin SWIM PL layout

I used a lot of letter stickers on this layout, thickets for the clear pocket to spell out summer.  Then I used a variety of white letter stickers, recollection line from Michaels, to accent to my images.  I also when with layering labels for some texture and depth.  This layout came together in about 20 minutes, that’s it, super fast and simple.  I really enjoy telling a whole story over a two page spread.

For this project I used a combination of products, a card from Ali Edwards Story Kits, Sunshine edition, Kiwi edition and an assortment of tags and labels from Hello Forever Paper Co. and Studio Calico.

Project Life is a memory keeping system from Becky Higgins. You can find out more about her system and product here.

Week in the Life™ 2015

Have you heard of Week in the Life™?  Created by Ali EdwardsWeek in the Life™ is a week long project where you document each day fully of your life.  7 days of photos and words together in a completed project.  Our daily lives documented, frozen in time, pieces from the simple ordinary things we do.

This year Week in the Life™ is August 17-23rd and I will be using Ali Edwards Black & White WITL kit to put together my project.  You can use a kit or shop your stash.

I love this project, my favourite and first album was the week of Jake’s first birthday.  He is now six years old.  I worked so hard on this project.  It’s finished, printed and real.  Best part, my hard drive failed and I lost all those digital files, but I have my album.  I treasure it.

Are you going to join us for Week in the Life™?  So I’m in, are you?

Life Lately | July edition

Life lately has been good, summer time for us and school break has begun for Momma and boys.  We are enjoying the long days, and later mornings.  Time together.

Life lately has one boy in trampoline camp, learning how bounce, tumble, flip, tuck and roll.  It takes trampoline’s to a whole new level and he loves it.  To see him achieve the building blocks needed to achieve bigger and better things on the trampoline has been awesome.  I love seeing him passionate about something.

Life lately has us enjoying six new additions to our family.  Six lovely young hens, Chick-a-boom, Sandwich, Bossy, Cosmos, Daisy and Starlight.  They are all lovely and quirky.  It has been hilarious getting to know them, and learning about how to best care for them.  These hens are for laying only and will enjoy the rest of their time free ranging and being a part of our family.

Life lately has Jake wanting to be a farmer when he grows up.  He loves heading to the local farm stores for supplies with his Nana, and his miniature farm is growing quite large.  He loves watching the farmers around our home and all their equipment.  Feeding and caring for the chickens.  Growing his own bean plant that has joined our vegetable garden.  My little John Deere loving farm boy.

Life lately let me enjoy my first s’more at our first fire of the summer.  Gooey gooey goodness.  Seriously, it was my first s’more ever, and so good.

Life lately has us spending lots of time playing at local parks with friends.  We love playing at the park, love seeing old friends, and love making new ones.

Life lately saw me running my first 5K race.  Getting back into the grove of running again was hard after the race.  Slowly its coming.  Slowly.  It’s good though, feels good to get moving again.
















Life lately has been good.



A day at the beach | A Scrapbook Layout

After spending a long time focusing on pocket pages layouts, I have found that lately I have really enjoyed creating more traditional layouts.  I feel renewed, and am enjoying the process of creating again.  It feels good.

When I scrapbook, my friend Pam always laughs and tells me it’s not scrapbooking because my still is simple and minimalistic.  I’m here to tell you that’s ok.  What matters most is that we are telling stories and memories.  Photos and words.

I created a 5×7 photo book last year about our day trip to Wasaga Beach which I love that tells a bigger story.  However I also wanted to create a layout highlighting my favourite moments with the boys at the beach.  I took four 4×6 images, and then I cropped two 3×4 to create this grid layout.

I used my pebbles stamp to create custom stamps from the Double Double Project Life Kit from Studio Calico.  Love this stamp.  I hand wrote beach and used my pen to hand draw a simple border. To finish it off I matted the layout with an aqua card stock and a simple tag from Studio Calico by Hello Forever Paper Co.  Simple, fast and fun.

Tara McKernin A Day at the BeachSupplies used: Canon Pixma Printer and Canon Matte Photopaper, Precision Pen by American Crafts, Pebble Stamp, card stock from American Crafts, Label from Hello Forever Paper Co. & Studio Calico

Thoughts on my first year of teaching

Lately words have been my focus in the stories I tell.  Longer more detail focused or thought driven stories.  My stories.  My experiences.  Words that tell my story just for me.  I love to document my children’s stories, and our stories as a family, but this journey into telling my story has been a long slow process.


Here are my words about my first year of teaching.

As June draws to a close, so does my first full school year of teaching Kindergarten. I approached the end of the year with mixed feelings. Proud of all that my students have accomplished, sorrow in saying goodbye to students who are moving up to the next grade; and happiness and joy with summer vacation about to begin. Where did the year go? How did time move so fast that I find myself here reflecting on the year now behind me.

It seems like it was just the hot summer days of August when I was alone cleaning and setting up my first classroom, learning the halls of my new school, and meeting my peers for the first time. Peers, who I now call my friends, students and their parents, who feel more like family than anything else. Now, as I unpack my belongings that came home from school I pause to think back over the year.

I think about watching my student finally write a letter in her name for the first time, and how all three of us educators cheered and cried in joy. How one little boy used to take me on helicopter adventures all across the world together. How he could detail our itinerary and talk to me for hours, but only with me for 8 whole months. How much I treasured each interaction with the brilliant mind behind the quiet exterior. Never judge a book by its cover, ever.

I remember crying with parents as they share their concerns and worries, diagnosis’s, divorces, and losses. Offering tissues and a shoulder to cry on. Sharing concern over health issues, and fixing cuts and scrapes on a daily basis. Discovering the magic of pretend teacher dust, the wonders of ice and it’s magical healing properties and how a cold compress can make a child smile within moments. Remembering the frustrations of being spit on daily and looking for ways to reach the child behind the action, and the moment when you do reach that child even for just a spilt second.

I want to hold close the words of kindness shared with me. The love the children showed for the teaching team and their peers. The random love letters from students that melt my heart and reinforce why I am here teaching them. The recognition that comes from a parent with the understanding for what we do to help support their child. The supports from your peers as you muddle your way through tough situations. The knowing look. The smiles and the hugs. I cherish every one of them. Every moment.

I know, that I go into next year with a better understanding of who I am as a teacher. My role, my strengths, my weaknesses, and how they come together to form who I have become. The passion for what I do, the love of learning and growing so I can be better and wiser. To accept the experiences. To embrace the never ending change in education. I know that next year will be different, and I look forward to discovering what will come next.

I will share the full layout soon and how I came to create it with such a large story.

Welcoming Rogue

On Mother’s Day we all piled into the SUV and made the 5 hour drive to go meet Rogue, our new Alaskan Malamute puppy.




It has been a whirlwind adventure having a puppy in our lives again.  Especially one who talks to you.  A LOT.  She talks or yowls at us non-stop.  It’s funny.  Most times, but she is cute.


Rogue is a show puppy so in a few weeks that journey for her will start.  She is our family pet first but we are beginning the journey to get her championship.  For now we are working on not putting wholes in our clothing, or using our feet or housecoats as chew toys.   I promise she has ample toys to chew, she just likes our toes and clothing.  Still working on house training.  Pam is the puppy whisperer and I swear the moment I take over I swear Rogue pees at my feet.  Puppy life.


The boys adore her, especially Ian.  This is his dog he tells me.  He takes her out to go to the kennel.  Plays with her.  The puppy biting is a bit trying for him but he’s learning as he goes.  It’s great to see him take responsibility with Rogue.  I hope they develop a close bond together.



She is certainly different than any other dog we have ever owned.  I know they love the winter but it’s funny to see her sleep on our air vents or in front of a fan.  She is stubborn and strong but soft and loving.  We are her people and she loves when one of us comes home.  I can’t wait to see her grow.




Welcome home Rogue, welcome home.

Life Lately

Life lately has been pretty busy at home, which meant it was quieter on here.  The last few weeks of the school year is approaching for the boys and I.  As I wrap up the year teaching Kindergarten the boys are wrapping up Grade 7 and Senior Kindergarten.

Life lately has been us seeing many nights and weekends spent at the ball hockey rinks.  Both boys are playing on teams for the spring season.  It’s been awesome to watch them grow as players.  Looking forward to the beginning of playoffs next week. 

Life lately brings us much longer days filled with warmer weather and much more sunlight. Loving every moment of these brighter days.  More time spent outside enjoying it all and taking everything in.  Exploring our new home in spring time.

Life lately saw us welcoming Rogue into our family.  Rogue is an Alaskan Malamute puppy who is one pretty girl, busy, but pretty.  We love her and look forward to watching her grow with our family.


Life lately has been busy with wrapping up my next class at big picture classes.  Stay tuned for more information on that.

Life lately had us celebrating Jake’s 6th birthday.  I can’t believe he is 6 already, 6 years old and where has the time gone?  He had a wonderful birthday and a great celebration with family and friends.  I can’t wait to see what this year holds for him.

Life lately has me preparing for Cornwall Crop & Create event with Scrapbook & Cards Today.  More information on that soon!

Life lately has been busy but has been wonderful.

April Project Life Blog Hop


Welcome to the fourth of 12 Blog Hops from the 2014 Becky Higgins Project Creative Team! We are all passionate about Project Life & memory keeping and we wanted to continue to inspire each other and you as we move forward in 2015.

Here is a look at what I’ve been working on lately.


Over March break as shared here on the blog we travelled to Niagara Falls for the day to take in the magical site of the frozen falls.  Ali Edwards Story Kit for March was all about Magic and it was perfect for this trip.


My base pages were two Design A layouts.  I trimmed a 12×12 enlargement – I used word art for the magic and a slick writer to add to the title.  I used midnight, seafoam, studio calico and custom 3×4 cards throughout.


I also added two inserts to this spread to share even more images from our trip.  One of my favourite things was the card where the boys both wrote what they loved most about the trip.  Ian loved seeing all the ice and Jake loved the SkyWheel.  So nice to have a personal touch from the two of them.  I also included a post card, our SkyWheel tickets and our dinner receipt.

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Please be sure to stop by all the blogs for more Creative Team Inspiration:






Tara – you are here

If you haven’t stopped by yet, please join me over at Big Picture Classes for Pocket Prompts 2 with some photography and journalling prompts and a peek at my Project Life process.

teacher 2Please note that these are fun and optional blog hops. If you don’t see your favourite former team member, please visit their individual blogs to see what they are up too! We hope you enjoyed this hop!
Project Life is a memory keeping system from Becky Higgins. You can find out more about her system and product here.