Thursday, August 31, 2017

Aug. 31 - Craft Haul, Part 2

In my craft haul post the other day I mentioned I'd gone kinda hog wild on the Lawn Fawn new fall/winter release.  I'd ordered things from three different places and it turned out the bulk of what I ordered had needed signature confirmation for delivery and I wasn't home at the time.  Sooooo, I've finally gotten to the post office (yay for days off!) and now I can share the remainder of my crazy Lawn Fawn haul.

This is their new Knock on Wood 6x6 paper pad.  If you look closely at the pic you can see that there is a wood grain design on each of the papers.  The wood grain look is alright but I mainly got it for the fall colors.

Ah, pumpkin spice.  This is indeed their Pumpkin Spice set.  I saw some really cute examples from the design team using this set, and since it's one of the minis and those are affordable, I had to get it.

I got this Costume Party set just to add to my tiny little Halloween collection.

I had no interest in this Village Border die until I saw some really cool examples of it being cut from black for a spooky Halloween village, and then cut from white for an elegant Christmas village.  Yep, then I needed to have it.

These are the Fall and Winter Tiny Tags sets.  Again, saw some awesome examples of ways to use these and had to have them.

This Happy Happy Happy Add-On set will come in so handy.  I lack in sentiment variety, and this covers pretty much all of the big holidays.  The die coordinates with the stamps and cuts either the 'merry' or the 'happy.'

Winter Otter is another cute mini set.  I hadn't realized until watching someone else's haul video this morning that Lawn Fawn has come out with a winter animal mini set each year.  Now I'll need to go back and hunt them all down.  LOL  I think I have one or two already, like the unicorn and the fox.

I think everyone's first thought with this Mini Wreath die set is to make green and red Christmas wreaths.  Well when I saw an example where someone used browns and oranges and made a fall wreath . . . yep, sold!

I haven't really been into scene building on cards yet.  I keep thinking, 'Nah, that's not my thing.'  But how do I know that if I don't try it?  Maybe it totally IS my thing?!  Well, even if it's not, there are plenty of pieces in this Christmas Dreams set that can be used without building a whole scene.

Same with this Winter Village set.  I seem to really have a thing for villages this year.  I bought that snow globe village set earlier this year, and now I have two more in this haul.  I like the extra little stamps by the trees, which can be lights or garland on top of those trees.  This just might be the one I want to play with first for Christmas stuff.

And then there is this Gift Box die set.  Oh my gosh, the examples of things made with this had my jaw dropping.  This makes a little gift box that measures roughly about 3x5" and is almost an inch deep.  One of the suggested uses was to package sets of note cards in them to give as a gift.  Um, hello?!  Who has been wanting to really get into the making of note cards?  Me.  You could use the boxes for so many other things but it was the note card idea that sold me on this.  Below are some of the gorgeous examples of boxes the Lawn Fawn design team members have made.





Gah!  I can only hope to be that creative some day!

So that is the remainder of my Lawn Fawn fall/winter release haul.  Can you believe there are still more things I want?!  There is a set that makes the cutest little bookmarks, where the animal paws slip over the pages.  Want!  And I can't remember what else offhand but I'm definitely heading back to see what else I can grab.

What do you think?
What should I play with first?!

Aug. 31 - Happy Planner?!

Yes, I am trying this dang planner thing again.
I blame my sister, and Walmart.
If you've followed me for a while you might remember I've tried to get into the whole planner thing a few times but always quit before I ever really get started.  I always say my life is not that exciting or that complicated that I need a planner.  I always shake my head at those people go all out and have stickers for every. stinking. thing. they do each day.  Seems to me people use planners more as a creative outlet than for any sort of practical use.

I've been 'planning' and 'memory keeping' on my freebie calendars for probably 30 years now.  At the end of each year I fill out my new calendar with all the birthdays and anniversaries in marker.  I have my odd work schedule marked with red ink.  I have little page flag reminders for upcoming things that I really don't want to miss.  And then most days I have a line or two scribbled about whatever was going on.  The calendars are thin and flat and take up very little room even though, like I said, I have probably 30 years worth.  It's been my way of doing things for so long that it's no wonder I can't get into the bigger, bulkier, spendy-er ways of planners.

So why the heck do I have one now?  Again?
Because it's still something niggling at the back of my brain quite often.  More recently, following various stamp companies, I see how I can even use my stamps in a planner and use my markers to color them.  Yes, it's more of a creative outlet, just like I said.  Doh!

And why do I blame my sister and Walmart?
Because she is always finding shopping deals online and sent me a link to a Happy Planner deal not long ago.  I was very tempted and almost got one then, but found enough strength to resist until that offer expired.  *phew*  But no.  When Walmart got their Back to School stuff out I was surprised to see Happy Planners.  Really??  I know Happy Planners are sort of the more affordable version of all the big name planners that wouldn't be caught dead in general retailers, but I was still surprised to see them in Walmart.  I had one in my hands and was oohing and aahing over it, then put it back and hurried away from that aisle.  *PHEW*  But too late, it was in my head now.  By the time I got back to Walmart the following week they were all gone.  That's what really made me start wanting one.  I don't want one when they're available but dangit when they're gone I neeeeeeed one!

I debated for probably another week, looking online and seeing just what options there where, and seeing which sites had the best prices.  I finally whined my stupid dilemma to hubby and was totally caught off guard when he said I should get one, and even mentioned some things I'd been thinking but hadn't spoken.  So I got back online and ordered a damn planner.

And I went big.  (Well, for me at least.)  My previous halfhearted attempts had been with super basic Dollar Tree or Target Dollar Spot planners.  This time I dove in the deep end with this Happy Planner Big style, in the Daydream design.  The cover is durable laminate that measures 9" x 11.25" and the pages measure 8.5"x11".
 
When you open the front cover you get this nice little 'belongs to' page.
 
Each month has a nice cover page with either a nice sentiment or just a fun design.  The month tab is laminated but the page itself is just heavy card stock.  I'm not wowed by all of them in this 18 month planner so yeah, already I'm thinking 'Oh I can make my own!'  lol Here we go.
 
 There is a monthly layout with the whole month easily available at a glance.  The boxes are a decent size so there is plenty of room to write things (or stamp, or sticker).  The pages are fairly heavy quality, heavier than regular copy paper but not quite card stock.

You also have the weekly layout right after the monthly layout pages.  These boxes are even bigger, and designed to work with Polaroid Snap cameras for quickie memory keeping.  (I have not checked into these types of cameras to see if others like the Instax has the same size photos.)  I don't have any of those types of cameras but I did see there is a paper punch available on the website that cuts this same box size.  I'm thinking that might be handy and I could cut squares of my patterned papers or cut down pics I take on my other cameras.

At the end of each month you have this page, which is really what sold me on this one.  I love that section where you can fill in what you're currently liking.  It reminds me very much of Julie's Ebb & Flow posts at the end of each month.  You can also write your priorities for the upcoming month, and any top priority dates to have all available at a glance.

This planner is $34.99 on the Me and My Big Ideas website but I got mine for $28.77 on Amazon.  There are always deals online though, like 50% at Michael's and whatnot.  I did not get any accessories . . . yet.  There was a package of pages that breaks your days down by the hour that I thought might be handy to try and get my overwhelmed-so-I-do-nothing tendencies under control.  There are also packs of stickers that are cute, like seasonal things, but I already have a ton of stickers here and I always like to buy seasonal ones as they come out in stores so I held off on buying those too.

Now that I actually have this in my hands I'm intimidated by it.  It's so pretty!  I'm afraid to use it!  Everyone is telling me to just dive in, just haul out the stickers and washi tapes and go to town.  Yes, that's what I'll do.  Hopefully.

Are you familiar with MAMBI Happy Planners?  Any other accessories I might need to know about?  Any tips for getting started??

Monday, August 28, 2017

Aug. 28 - Craft Haul

I'd mentioned in my Achy Joints announcement post that I might stop showing a lot of the craft related stuff here.  Well, I realized I can't really show hauls on Facebook or Instagram like I do here.  I'd be more limited to lumping everything into one pic.  Plus, maybe people there won't give a crap about what I've bought and are just more interested in the finished products.  *shrugs*  So, yes, hauls and crafty natters will continue here.

Lawn Fawn, my favorite stamp and die company, had their big fall/winter release last week Thursday.  I had to work that day and was afraid things would sell out so I got up a bit earlier and did some frantic shopping that morning.  I ended up placing orders at three different craft supply sites, and not all of it was Lawn Fawn.  (Hey, I need it all for Achy Joints, right?!)  Two of the orders arrived today but the third needed signature confirmation and no one was home at the time to do it.  And wouldn't you know, that particular order is the bulk of the new release stuff.  *sigh*  So look for another haul post later this week, after I have a chance to go pick up the package.

Now that I'm finally starting to use sequins on my cards, and am even considering trying my hand at shaker cards, I wanted to get some fun fall and Halloween colors.  I didn't realize when I ordered that the pack in the middle is not the typical sequin type we all know.  They are just flat discs, and not even shiny.  I don't know if I'll actually use those.  Bummer.  But the other ones are super cute!

I finally decided I need to try this tape for masking techniques.  All the cool kids mention Post-it tape but this looks smaller (narrower) than what I see them using.  Whatever though.  I'll give it a try.

Halloween sets were a goal in these orders I placed.  I couldn't believe it recently when I realized I only had ONE Halloween set!  This is the Newton's Perfect Pumpkin set from Newton's Nook.  I love that vendor because so many of the sets feature cats.  The one downfall is that many of the sets don't have matching die sets.  I hate cutting out images by hand, hate it with the passion of a thousand suns, but the Newton's sets are so. darn. cute!

This set is Newton's Boo-tiful Night and again, how stinkin' cute are those Halloween images?!  Of course the cats will all be black for these.  hehe

I managed to grab a few older Lawn Fawn Halloween sets in my ordering frenzy.  This Trick or Treat mini set is simple yet awesome.

This Spooktacular set has a nice assortment of Halloween basics.

This Happy Haunting set gets a little more challenging, with things to create a spooky scene.

One of the few new release Halloween items that came in these lesser orders is this fun spider and web die set called Cute Cobweb.  I've seen some really neat looking projects featuring the web die cuts in the corners.

This is one of the new release paper packs, a 6x6 pad called Perfectly Plaid - Chill.  I'm not wild about these particular colors or anything but since it was selling out on other sites I thought I'd grab it while I could.  That straw colored paper on the left could work for some fall cards.  The blue could work for winter, I guess.  The rest could be used for any time of year, or for boy cards.

Another of the new paper packs in this release is this Knit Picky 6x6 pad.  These will obviously be fun for Christmas cards but the red over on the right could even be for Valentine's Day card because the stitch design kind looks like hearts.

Lawn Fawn always includes samples when you order directly from their site.  This is what I got this time: three 6x6 papers, and length of their twine, and a little 'Merci' and flower stamp.  Thank you, Lawn Fawn!

Lawn Fawn recently paired up with Ellen Hutson for an exclusive and limited addition set.  So, uh, yeah, I had to have it before it was gone.  This is the Love Ya Bunches set.

And a sample of ribbon was included as thanks from the Ellen Hutson site.  I'll give you one guess who I immediately thought of when I pulled this out of the package.  lol

And these last two things I picked up at Walmart recently.  I didn't have these black gemstones in my collection and thought they'd come in handy for Halloween cards so I grabbed a pack.

I'm trying to figure out a better place and way to take pics of my finished cards.  I know the cool kids use 12x12 papers as neat looking backgrounds so I decided to try this pack from Walmart.  I played around briefly with a setup idea I'd had but the lighting wasn't good enough in that area that I'd chosen.  Back to the drawing board on that whole thing.

That's what I've accumulated recently.  I can't wait to show you the bulk of the order from the new release though!

What do you think?
Which set or image is your fave?

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Aug. 26 - Achy Joints Creations

As you already know, hubby and I have been puttering around with some ideas for a little hobby business.  I didn't go into card making with the intention of getting rich off it but to make a few bucks here and there would be fun.
Rebuilding the barn and making it into a workshop for hubby has always been the plan but again, it wasn't with the intention of making the woodworking hobby a moneymaker.

Earlier this year we were both struggling with job issues and that's when we joked about starting our little hobby business.  Because we're not getting any younger, we jokingly called our hobby plans Achy Joints.  When hubby's friend and coworker came into the picture by offering to help fix the barn if he could rent some space to do some of his own crafts, the Achy Joints idea really started to take off.

Hubby and I tried coming up with a different name after that but Achy Joints had stuck by then.  We debated if we should call it Designs, Crafts, Creations, or what.  Creations won out, and today we are going ahead and announcing Achy Joints Creations.  Yay!

No, the barn is not ready yet and they haven't started working on projects but I'm getting quite a little stockpile of cards already and at least one person is impatiently waiting to buy some.  I've been showing my cards here on the blog and on Instagram, but this past week started thinking they should have their own place.  Sooooo . . . today I created Achy Joints Creations accounts on Instagram and Facebook!

Join us on Instagram.
Like our Facebook page.
Join our Facebook group.
 Email us at AchyJointsCreations@gmail.com

There isn't really anything up at any of these sites yet.  I'm totally fumbling in trying to figure out how the FB page and group work.  If anyone is more familiar with such things and can offer assistance and guidance, that would be awesome.  Also, if anyone is good at making logos and can help me, pleeeeeeeeeease let me know!  It's been many years since I've done any clipart or graphics stuff and I'm just frustrating myself.

I don't plan on giving up this blog but I'm not sure how much of the crafty stuff will stay here.  It might be easier to just show the craft hauls and finished cards over there.  I do know though, that some people don't use Facebook or Instagram.  And I do realize how funny it is that I, the one who hates that all vendors are switching to business-thru-social media, am now doing just that.  I do see it, trust me!  LOL  But anyway, what do you all think?  Should I keep posting crafty stuff here too?  I also know that not everyone who reads this blog is into the crafty stuff featured here, and that's cool too.  If I don't see you over there I'll hopefully still see you here.
 So yeah, just wanted to share this bit of news with you all.
*smile and happy dance*

Friday, August 25, 2017

Aug. 25 - Birthday

Happy Birthday, King Ludwig II!

(There is some debate about the actual date of his birthday.  Some say he was born late on Aug. 24 but that his grandfather wanted the announcement delayed until early on Aug. 25 so they would share a birthday.)

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Book Review - Miss Mayhem (Rebel Belle, Book 2)

Miss Mayhem (Rebel Belle, Book 2)

by Rachel Hawkins
2015
273 pages

'Life is almost back to normal for Harper Price. The Ephors have been silent after their deadly attack at Cotillion months ago, and best friend Bee has returned after a mysterious disappearance. Now Harper can return her focus to the important things in life: school, canoodling with David, her nemesis-turned-ward-slash-boyfie, and even competing in the Miss Pine Grove pageant.

Unfortunately, supernatural chores are never done. The Ephors have decided they’d rather train David than kill him. The catch: Harper has to come along for the ride, but she can’t stay David’s Paladin unless she undergoes an an ancient trial that will either kill her . . . or make her more powerful than ever.
'

*** MIGHT CONTAIN SPOILERS ***

Even though the first book in this trilogy was weak, I did enjoy it enough to go ahead and read this second book.  In some ways I liked this one even more than the first, but once again, the storytelling is weak in many areas.

This book picks up several months after the events at the end of the first book.  Our superhero trio of teens is without guidance now and have decided to use David's oracle (see the future) abilities to see how their lives and the lives of their friends and families might turn out.  They've started running interference on things that his visions have shown will be problems in their lives.  For example, one of their ditzy classmates will have her life ruined by a drunken frat boy she meets.  Well, at least the vision shows that.  So of course paladin Harper is going to crash the party where these two meet and put a stop to it all.  You know, that kind of stuff.  David is unhappy with this new 'hobby' though and suggests to Harper that they might not be stopping or changing anything, but just altering the path that the events are destined to play out on anyway.

We do finally learn a little bit more in this book about who they are supposedly protecting David from.  The ancient and powerful Ephors are a group of men who have always owned the oracles and used the visions to get ahead in the world.  Male oracles are extremely rare and much weaker than females, which is why they originally wanted David dead, so the next (and hopefully female) one could be born.  But a mysterious ritual had been performed on David in the first book, and he's potentially the most powerful oracle ever now.  So of course the Ephors have changed their minds and want David alive and back under their control.  Aaaah, well that makes sense and I'm glad it was finally explained.

But then we get back to the weak storytelling.  It seems that Harper isn't a paladin after all.  She has not passed this series of tests yet, to prove her worthiness.  Uh, what?  They learn this after being drawn to a mysterious house and meeting one of the Ephors.  He says she will face three trials in the next month but won't know what they are or when they're coming, and is not allowed any help.  If she fails at any point, she will die.  Ooooh, dramatic.  Or not.  It just all sounded dumb to me right from the get-go.  Oh, and by the way, best friend Bee became a paladin in all that chaos at the end of the first book so she's a handy spare if Harper should happen to fail/die.  Also, mage Ryan doesn't have to go through any of this because, well, a mage is a mage as soon the powers are passed on to him.  Well isn't that convenient?  And why is Bee a fully eligible paladin but Harper is not?

The strong point of this book is again in the way the relationships are written.  All of the paranormal or fantasy stuff is very weak and barely explained or delved into, but everything else is quite well written.  You feel for Harper as she goes through confusion and jealousy of seeing her recent ex-boyfriend with someone new.  And you see the troubles brewing in her relationship with David.  Harper is not so perfect in this book, yet you can't help but feel for her and see why she's insisting on making these seemingly wrong decisions.

The relationship between David and Harper is falling apart because she refuses to let him go.  He realizes now that he can never be normal and wants to go with the Ephors and be trained to learn to live with his crazy new powers.  Harper is trying to hang onto their normal teen lives and refusing to admit that it just can't be done anymore.  David becomes more confused about things when he realizes he's been betrayed by more than one person, and puts his powers to the test in an attempt to break away from everyone who wants to control him.  Like before, you feel his pain as he struggles with these realizations, but the actual supposedly dramatic events are just cheesy and never really explained or explored deeply enough.  There are inconsistencies too, just like in the first book.  At the end of the book the mysterious man from the Ephors says he is the only one.  I got the impression he meant he is the last of his kind, but a couple pages later he's talking about "we" and "us" and I was wondering if he meant he's the only one at this particular location, the only one on this particular mission?  He also explains that if David manages to get away, their (Harper, Ryan, and Bee) powers will eventually fade and they'll just be normal teens again.  What the heck?  What happened to this deep, soul binding connection they supposedly all had now?!  If David had accomplished something with his new powers that no one had done before, how does this Ephor guy know what will happen with their powers?  And again, the passage of time seems odd and disproportional in this book.  In one part, after some rather dramatic events, the next chapter mentions how a week had passed since then but it leaves the reader wondering why.  If life is just normal and absolutely nothing happened for one week . . . why?  Why not make the next round of events the next freakin' day to really make it seem like things are troubled?

So yes, a lot of weak points in this book but just like the first, it was still quite an enjoyable read, and I will go ahead and read the third when I get my hands on it.  I *think* the third is the final one since it came out in 2016 and I see no mention of a new one coming out.

I actually own the book Debutantes & Daggers, which is a compilation of Rebel Belle and Miss Mayhem, and looks like this . . . 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Aug. 18 - This & That


Had a situation at work Tuesday and Wednesday.  I think I've mentioned here on the blog that I've thought about bidding down to a regular machine operator position and give up my lead position, haven't I?  It's always sort of my 'Wouldn't it be nice?' daydream line of thought.  Well, they're interviewing people to fill spots for an extra lead person on each shift, and through this potential shifting people around, a couple operator spots will very likely be opening up.  This would be my chance!  My supervisor asked if I was going to bid down, because he knows I've kicked the idea around.  I mentioned it to hubby Tuesday night and he thinks I should do it for my own peace of mind, so I'm not coming home so crabby or emotional all the time.  I mentioned it to Casey and he pretty much said the same thing.  So I spent Wednesday at work really thinking about it, weighing the pros and cons, and while bidding down would takes tons of the pressure of all the responsibilities of a lead person off my shoulders it does come with its own set of stresses.  In the end, it really comes down to the money.  It's quite a significant pay cut to go down to an operator spot, and at this point in life, when I'm sort of in a race to get things paid off and get out there, I think having more money to do that faster is what I want.  So yeah, you'll continue to hear me whine about work!  Yay!

I bought fall wax today!  I noticed they had a lot more of the fall scents out at my Walmart, but they're still mixed in with the regular stuff and not in any sort of fall-only display yet.  I'm thinking of bringing back the Melted posts for the fall and holiday scents, so I'll do more indepth descriptions then, but for now . . . 
Honey Crisp Cider is a sweet, not so heavy apple cider scent.
Welcome is an interesting apple-pumpkin mix that's more warm and spicy than the usual brighter, sweeter apple-pumpkin scents.
Fall Into Autumn is the one I was all about last year because it should totally be a Christmas scent instead of a fall scent.  There is a touch of pine along with some juicy, fruity notes.

I didn't get these today, but I did get them recently.  Maybe last week?  I just grabbed one of each of the Mainstays fall scents.  They are all the same as last year and pretty self explanatory . . . Apple Pumpkin, Mulled Cider, Pecan Pumpkin Cake, and Pumpkin Spice.  I was bummed that they don't have Spiced Cranberry this year.  Maybe it will come out later.

Stopped at Target this morning to look at something and couldn't help but stop at the Dollar Spot to see if fall stuff was out yet.  It wasn't, but I did find this cute ceramic apple in the Back To School stuff that's still out.  It was only $1.00 and is maybe two or three inches tall.  This will go nicely with my early-fall decorations for September, which is more apples and sunflowers.

Bought myself a new book today too.  I usually don't buy Philippa Gregory books when they first come out.  Not sure why, but I usually come around to them much later.  And I sort of have a love-hate relationship with her books.  I know they get slammed for not being historically accurate, but they are still entertaining enough to teach you the basics of whatever famous character she's spotlighting at the time.  This one is about Lady Jane Grey and her two sisters.  Should be interesting because this gets into a time I don't know as much about.

I played around with some crafty stuff today but I'll save that for another post since I have a bunch of pics in this one already.

Oh!  The menfolk are still working on the barn each day.  We've been talking to our insurance company about getting it added to our policy, and found out if there is a wood burner in there it cancels out our whole homeowners policy.  So now we're trying to decide what source of heat to go with out there.  The insurance company recommended one, but hubby's friend thinks a different one would be better.  They had another coworker stop be today to help with some advice on wiring and whatnot.  And hubby tells me they're starting to put some walls back up inside, like where their little office area is going to be.  I didn't go out and look at all today.  I'll have to take a peek tomorrow after work.

And that's about it for now.
I'm off to read, as usual.  I'm almost done with the second book in that paladin series!  I don't have the third book though, so I'll dive into the new Tudor one next.

Anything fun happening in your corner of the world?
Any big plans for the weekend?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Ancestry DNA Results

I've been interested in my family tree for a long time.  Like, all the way back when I was a teen.  Back then, with no internet and no resources, it was exciting to gather bits of info from talking to people at the annual family picnic and scribbling down notes about what they recalled of our history, or trying to piece things together from reading old obituaries and studying old photos.

My ambition for doing family research sort of died out many years ago after meeting a cousin of my grandma who is pretty much a professional researcher.  Once it became clear she had more info than I could ever dream of having, and that she knew all the hows and wheres of searching, I sort of gave up and figured I'd just swoon over the information she has.

Well jump ahead into the modern age of DNA and the growing popularity of those ancestry DNA test kits that you see advertised all over TV.  I've wanted to do one for a few years now.  The price always scared me away but they seem to be more affordable these days.  Then one day Ty and I were talking about it and he said he was quite curious about it all.  That's what got me to finally do it.

Back in June I ordered two DNA test kits from MyHeritage.com.  I did not do any sort of research on the different companies offering these kits, just went with this one because it was on sale at the time and because I was already somewhat familiar with the MyHeritage website.

I ordered two kits on June 19, at a cost of $69 each (on sale), plus $12 shipping.  They arrived on June 26 (I think) but since I was working that day we didn't do the actual test until June 27th, my  next day off.

Each kit contained a bit of information, a code that I had to go online and register to 'activate' the kit, two swabs, two vials, a zip baggie, and an envelope to mail it all back in.  Directions said to not eat, drink, or smoke for at least 30 minutes before doing the swabs.  Hubby is a smoker so it was funny when we tried coordinate when to do this.  We ate supper, he had a cigarette, then we set a kitchen timer for one hour later.  LOL

Ya know, you see on all the cop shows on TV where they just poke a swab in the mouth for a moment and they're good to go.  Ha!  With these kits, you take one swab and keep rubbing and swirling on the inside of one cheek for 30 seconds, then use the other swab for the other cheek for 30 seconds.  That might not seem like a long time but when you're rubbing your mouth raw with a large swab and practically drooling cuz your mouth is hanging open, it seems like forever.  So anyway, the spit soaked end of the swab is carefully placed into a vial and sealed, then the vials are put into the return shipping envelope and you send them back.

And then you wait.

On July 10 I received email notification that the kits had arrived at the lab, and then FINALLY on July 24 I received the results from my swab.  Hubby's results came the following day.  They emailed saying the results were ready, and provided a link to where we could see it all.

I was soooo excited, and nervous!  I even got quite emotional before I finally clicked the link.  I hadn't been expecting that!  My heart was racing and hands were shaking slightly as the website played a short little video, and then . . . 
(Click image to read results.)
Tada!  In a way I was not surprised because I'd always known we were German, Irish, and Scottish.  I'd been wondering how much of each we were though, and hoping the German roots prevailed.  I was surprised to see that fairly large amount of *East* European though!  True, the regions overlap and those ancestors could have still been close to Germany if they were Austrian, Czech, or Polish, but farther out from that would be curious.  I'd also been told from that family researcher of mine that there is proof of connection to Charlemagne, who was French.  (I always scoff at these claims because what proof can one have?  But hey, whenever his name comes up I claim kinship, hehe.)

So nothing TOO surprising in mine.

I was super curious to see hubby's results though.  He's always bragging about how he's a Viking, and how much Scandinavian blood he has.  We joked while waiting for the results that it would be rather awkward to find out he only has like 2% in him.  Still, we were both shocked by what showed up on the results screen . . . 
 (Click image to read results.)
Whoa!  51.2% Scandinavian?!  We were laughing a victorious Viking laugh when we saw that.  Then it all started to fall apart.  Maybe I don't understand the science of DNA enough but how can he be over 50% if his mother's side has no Scandinavian blood?  Also, why is Iceland not included in it?  Everything hubby's been told has a good portion of his ancestors coming from Iceland.  AND, his mother's side is supposedly a very large percent Polish.  True, that 11.6% Baltic might represent that, but it seems odd.  There is always the chance that Grandma and Grandpa's hand-me-down tales might not be accurate, but still.  Hubby's family totally scoffed and blew this test off as a money making gimmick and are sticking to what they've always been told.  Their attitudes pretty much killed any excitement I'd had about this whole experience, and that's why it took me this long to post about it.

I did some reading after all this and found a lot of people trashing these DNA test kits.  I watched a couple videos from some investigative TV shows where they sent in swabs from identical twins and triplets and had varying results.  I read about how the databases are still fairly new an undeveloped.  Maybe if I'd read all that stuff before I never would have spent the money on these kits.  I haven't totally written them off like hubby's family has, but it has knocked my excitement back quite a bit.  At first I was super excited to get online and start researching my dad's side of the family, see if I could figure out just where that East European comes from, but then the ambition fizzled out.  Someday maybe I'll put some effort into it again.  My dad's side of the family, and hubby's family on both sides is still like a blank book when it comes to family history, so even if my grandma's cousin has my mom's side traced all the way back to the beginning of time, at least there are other areas I *could* dig around in.  For now though, my interests lie elsewhere.

So what do you think?
Are these test kits just a gimmick?
Would you still do it if you were given the chance?
Do you know much about your ancestry?