Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Summer Express: 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less

So tonight I am wondering what to make for dinner.... Brent is sick of me "not knowing what we want to eat for dinner" until 9 pm... way tooo late for dinner..... so tonight I am searching out some fun, new, easy, and QUICK recipes.... I just stumbled across this way cool article on Food Network by Mark Bittman (author of some cool cookbooks)...

Summer Express: 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less

A lot of these meals are a bit "gourmet" (aka ewww) for my taste buds... but I bet we could take the general idea and run with it.... kinda like scrapbooking... "oooh nice card/layout , but I like this color combo better....." Hehe!

I'm kind of liking #2 with some grilled chicken... MMm MMmMM GOOOD!

2.) Toss a cup of chopped mixed herbs with a few tablespoons of olive oil in a hot pan. Serve over angel-hair pasta, diluting the sauce if necessary with pasta cooking water.

or #15 but substitute some hard salami or blackforest ham.....

Call it panini: Grilled cheese with prosciutto, tomatoes, thyme or basil leaves.

or # 39.. mmmmmmmm Taco Salad is always a winner!

39.) Taco salad: Toss together greens, chopped tomato, chopped red onion, sliced avocado, a small can of black beans and kernels from a couple of ears of corn. Toss with crumbled tortilla chips and grated cheese. Dress with olive oil, lime and chopped cilantro leaves.

and I think we will have #64 on Sunday with Chicken Parmesan (Brent makes the BEST Dutch Oven Chicken Parmesan in the world!!! OOOOOH!! YUM!

64.) Pasta with fresh tomatoes: Cook chopped fresh tomatoes in butter or oil with garlic until tender, while pasta cooks. Combine and serve with grated Parmesan.

or maybe #97.... ooooh!

97.) So-called Fettuccine Alfredo: Heat several tablespoons of butter and about half a cup of cream in a large skillet just until the cream starts to simmer. Add slightly undercooked fresh pasta to the skillet, along with plenty of grated Parmesan. Cook over low heat, tossing, until pasta is tender and hot.

19.) Chinese tomato and eggs: Cook minced garlic in peanut oil until blond; add chopped tomatoes then, a minute later, beaten eggs, along with salt and pepper. Scramble with a little soy sauce.

LOL! #19 inspired me..... I just sent B off to the supermarket to fetch some fresh veggies...

We're having Fried Rice!

What's on your menu?

Inky Smiles!

Monday, July 30, 2007

7/30/07:: Email Subscriptions SOLVED (I hope...)

LOL! Ok, so I think I have it solved now. Seems there was some problem with the html... well, that's what the Feedburner folks said anyway... so I reloaded the subscribe tool and tested it on a friend and looks like it works! YAY! Isn't technology lovely?

Inky Smiles!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

7/29 Fantabulous Girlfriends Swap Results.... Oh my!

This is PART ONE of this two part swap, the brain child of our hostess Alisha Trussell.
  • Part 1 - Create a card with Random Stamping, Make It Tight, Have Fun
  • Part 1a - Create 8 each 5x7 pieces of the same Random Stamped paper that you used on your card and send in with your cards.
  • Part 2 Co-Create- (In development in each artist's studio) We will each receive 1 piece of everyone's Random Stamped 5x7 paper. We need to create 1 card with the original artist's RS paper and then send it back to Alisha. This is a FABULOUSLY fun swap! I can't wait to see what everyone does with my personal "designer" paper and can't wait to play with theirs! We have a month to complete Part 2 & I will post those results sometime in Sept.

Our swaps are in everyone's hands now and so I can officially post the cards I received. (I already posted my card previously.) I am overwhelmed by the talent of these girls. Their artwork is FABULOUSO!

All cards are made with CTMH products. Please DO NOT COPY these ladies' artwork for ANY sort of publication or contest purposes.
Let's keep art sharing fair. Click on each photo for a larger view.

Alisha Trussell - our fearless leader.. she has to be fearless because she's dealing with 7 crazy ladies and 4 little monkeys at home! Can you believe her card??? She SEWED it with gold thread over the random stamping and then hand pieced the gold thread around her stamped flower on the sentiment piece. The sentiment is stamped over the top of a layer of cardstock, then mulberry paper which is stamped with the flower, then covered with a double sided adhesive sheet, then the flower & stem is lined with gold thread (had to have taken HOURS) and then covered in UTEE and heated and melted. She stamped Thank You with Staz On. WOW!

Barbara L
amunion - WOW! WOW! WOW! (You're gonna read a LOT of WOWs in this post!) This RS paper is something else! She used LOTS of various stamp sets in her RSing. This is a FABULOUS card and I wish I had GOBS of her RS paper to play with. I think it would make the most fabulous B&T patterned paper!! Her flower is something else, too! It looks like leather! I just want to run my fingers over it and feel the texture!

Terri Howard - TERRI! Sneak in a little bling... I love the GINORMOUS (yes that's a real word..) Grommet from Making Memories with a little spring bling popping out from CTMH. I love the ribbon tied across the card, drawing your eyes to the bling. AND the random stamping is something else! It looks like color emerging, but it's not... It's kind of a cool tye dyed effect RS. LOVE IT!

Brenda Harmless -
OOOOH la la!!! I have got to "get me one of them Cuttlebug thingies"! She embossed the dark green paper (NE Ivy?) and then reversed the paper when she adhered it to the page so the bubbles point DOWN rather than up... soooo cool. I love how she made the sentiment look just like a fishing bobber... and the tails on the fish are hand cut with a craft knife and popped out with a little pop dot - 3-d tails, watch out!

Tiffany Cheney - OOOOOH WOW! This picture does not do the RS on this card any sort of justice at all! You can't really see the very background stamp on the large square RS piece. It's a word stamp (Romantic Backgrounds?) done in , I think, Bamboo ink. Very subtle, but very elegant! She added just a touch of my fav embellishment, Liquid Glass, to the blue focal point flower.

Susan Hankins - This card is sooo fun and sassy! (Kinda like the artist!!! *grin*) This is a very cool color combo, too! I love the little boingy centers of the buttons (CTMH craft wire) and the clip that she created from cardstock. Love the little ribbon tucked neatly behind the flower!

Pam Klassen - Our resident Canadian... WHOA... WOW... WOW.... What is that lovely sparkley glob of glittery bling in the center of the rose, you ask??? It's a variety glass beads piled onto what looks like a big old lovely lump of Liquid Glass. These photos do not really show the sparkly effect well at all. I love Pam's RS It's done over textured cardstock and looks like watercolor painting. Pam finished off the edges of her papers with her trademark paper rolling technique. I LOVE how it works with the rose and leaves!

Harry Potter Poll

Just a few days left to vote on my Harry Potter poll. I'm just curious to see what people think of the latest/last book.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sneak Peek (from July 2) Revealed

I promised I would reveal the entire card. The Hostess from the swap this card is in has sent the cards out and I received mine this afternoon. WHOA NELLY! They are soo cool! Anyway.. Here's my contribution to the swap.

Our rules (more like guidelines, anyway) were:
1.) Random Stamp *
2.) Make it tight.
3.) Have fun.

* I am not a huge fan of random stamping... I think mostly because it's such a challenge for me.... and then having to use it on a project... that's another thing. This was a LOT of fun to make and I'm not so leery of random stamping anymore. YAY! Alisha did say that she wanted us to all "think out of our boxes". It worked!

Standard size 4.25x5.5"

Stamp Set - Snap, Crackle, Pop - CTMH
Stamp Set - Let Freedom Ring - CTMH
All inks by CTMH unless otherwise noted.
Antique Linen Distress Ink by Tim Holz (Ranger)
Versamark ink for embossing by Tuseniko
Outdoor Denim & Gold embossing powder by CTMH
Silver embossing tinsel by Ranger
Embossing Buddy by Stampin Up!
Liquid Glass & Glitter from CTMH
Write N Rub Pen by Tonertex Foils, LTD
Gold eyelets by Making Memories
Gold star brad by Making Memories
Circle punch by Creative Memories
Crop-O-Dile for eyelets
Foam Tape
Gold elastic ties from supply store
Xyron adhesive
Scotch ATG Gun & Gold adhesive
Cranberry & Outdoor Denim cardstock by CTMH.
White Cardstock (base) & Cream cardstock by Provo Craft.

Paper rolling (along center of card)
Direct to paper ink distressing
Paper Piecing

*FYI: Cork does not run through a Xyron machine worth a hill of beans. Hehe!

Strawberry Jam Recipe (No Pectin Added)

I used this recipe for my first batch and then the Pectin added recipe which you can find in the box of powdered Pectin. The no added pecting recipe takes quite a bit longer than the pectin added one, but they both taste fabulous. So, the recipe choice is really in the taste buds of the person making the jam :)

Strawberry Jam (No Pectin Added)

2 quarts fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
6 cups white sugar

In a wide bowl, crush strawberries in small batches. Be careful not to make too much juice because too much liquid can cause jelling problems. I crush the strawberries one layer of berries at a time with a potato masher. You can also slice the berries and smash with a fork or your fingers, too. Don't stack a huge pile and try crushing them all at once.

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, mix together the strawberries & sugar.

Stir with a rubber spatula over low heat until the sugar is dissolved.

Increase heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 220 degrees F (105 degrees C).

Transfer to hot, sterile jars, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe any excess jam off the top of the jar and place a sterilized lid on the jar. Screw down a ring to hold the lid in place while processing.

Process in a boiling water canner for at least 10 minutes (depends on altitude). (If you’re going to eat it right away, don't bother with processing, and just refrigerate.)

Place three plates in a freezer... after about 10 minutes of boiling place a tsp of the liquid of the jam onto the cold plate. Return to freezer for a minute. Run your finger through the jam on the plate... if it doesn't try to run back together (if you can make a line through it with your finger) it's ready to be canned.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


MMMMM Summertime means sTrAwBeRrIeS, lemonade and pbj's (because it's way too stinking hot to cook!)

Brent and I both had the day off yesterday. The 24th of July is Pioneer Day, a state holiday in UT. It's the day we celebrate the pioneers settling in the Salt Lake Valley back in ooooh, way back when... :) But it was cool to have the day off with Brent, spend some time together and get a few things done around the house.

Most of the morning was spend making homemade strawberry jam. I usually make homemade freezer jam, but this year I decided to make home canned/bottled jam. It will last longer and doesn't take up precious real estate in my freezer. Brent even helped out! He was so excited to see all the finished bottles lined up on the counter cooling. Each time a lid would POP (seal), he'd keep count... POP! - "Three", POP! - "Seven!" LOL!

We tried two recipes... one with pecitin and one without. They both taste fabulous, but the Pectin recipe was a LOT faster and the color was much prettier. You have to cook the non-pectin recipe a lonnnng time and it gets really dark and almost looks like raspberry jam instead of strawberry jam.

We ended up with 21 half pints of strawberry jam. We made one batch (see left photo), then had a ton of strawberries left, so Brent ran to the store and picked up more half pint jars.)

This is WAAAAY more than B and I will eat in a year. Perhaps I will have to create a cute little tag or something for a couple jars and give some away... hrmmmmm.......

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hey friends!

I've switched my blog feed to a new service: Feedburner. You will need to resubscribe with this new service to receive updates from my blog. I hope that this new service will be better for all of us. Hope to see you soon!

Inky Smiles!


Monday, July 23, 2007

Coming SOON To Stamper Storage

Thanks to my sweet friend, Susan, I found these FABULOUS storage pieces called S*Purses by Skipping Stones Design. They are sooo cool!! Look at what you can fit in the Large S*Purse & all the extra goodies that can fit in them, too!!!

These even fit those large E size stamps.. the ones with the 3 holes punched in the side of the package... (You know what ones I am talking about!) How cool would it be to take these to crops, scrap parties, and demos? Everything for a few projects all together in one place.

These were just released to the scrapbooking world in September 2006. I should have a limited number of them this week for fabulous prices! If you'd like to reserve one for yourself, drop me an email.

The S* Purse TM is the perfect place to store all of your stamping and scrapbooking supplies.

S* is for stamps and scraps
Organize and store acrylic stamps, unmounted stamp sets, scrubbers, cleaners, acrylic blocks, pens, and inks. Perfect for rub-ons, chipboard letters, ribbon cards, embellishments, small tools, scraps, magazines and much, much, more!
Style and Function This stylish tote comes in two handy sizes. Complete with 5 S* Pockets TM inserts and a shoulder strap and handle for crafting on the go. Additional S* Pockets TM also sold separately. With an adjustable strap on the secure closure, the storage space will accommodate individual storage needs.

S* is simple
Everything in one place
Large Mesh pockets, pen holders and S* Pockets TM inserts allow you to keep all your supplies at your fingertips. For the growing group of Acrylic stampers nor more searching in separate places for acrylic blocks, cleaning supplies, inks, and stamps. Everything is in clear view and within reach.

Easy to use
Clear, easy zip S* Pockets TM inserts make storing and finding your craft supplies a snap. Ample mesh pockets fit any tool.

Use the shoulder strap to hang or remove the strap and store on shelf. The S* Purse is always in easy reach.

Large Size: 13" X 14.25"
Medium Size: 9.5" X 10.25"

This is the Large S Purse.
This is the medium purse:

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Camp Journal 2007

I used to work in the Young Women (YW) organization in my church. I miss them greatly! This year, B's cousin, Trish was the Camp Director for the YW and asked me for any fun ideas for camp. (Ok, I am sooo not a camper... B teases me that my idea of camping is Motel 6.)

SO anyway... I thought it would be fun to make little mini journals for the girls to have at camp. These would fit in their pockets and would be the perfect size for squirreling away private thoughts.. Trish chose the theme "Celebrate" for this years camp. Originally I had just the initial of each girl, but then decided to write their names when I realized that there were 5 C's and 6 K's... I didn't want Cari opening up Christina's and Keely opening up Kelly's journal.

These were really simple to make and the activity went really well with all 23 girls and leaders.
We started with 4.5"x3.5" mini composition books. You can find these REALLY cheap right now. I think I bought a grundle of them last year at Walgreens for 10/$1.00 or something. I pre-cut all the pieces and pre-stamped the spines and initials for each girl prior to assembly on Thursday morning. I also pre-assembled the initials on the chocolate mount paper.

We random stamped the white pieces of paper for the front with the set "Celebrate" by CTMH in Chocolate, Sweet Leaf, and Crystal Blue ink and then assembled the journals by adhering everything to the outside of the mini comp books with tape adhesive. (Do not use glue sticks if you want it to stay together.) The stamp with all the dots in the upper left hand corner was once ONE solid stamp... one of the beauties of acrylic... I cut apart all the rings and made several stamps out of the one.)

We glued the ribbon (book mark) down inside the spine, between the spine of the book and the stamped paper spine. I went around and stamped "Celebrate" on each journal.. the word was rather long and the journals rather small, so I had to bend the stamp to fit. (Gotta love CLEAR acrylic stamps!!) Finally we adhered the buttons on with Glue Dots and pulled the ribbon through a button.

Totally fun to make and totally easy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sketch Challenge {002}

I really enjoy playing around in Firefox MX... it's so much fun creating sketches and logos and other fun things.... I've just started dabbling in Hybrid Scrapbooking. OH man, I am in trouble... anyway...

Here's Sketch Challenge {002} - Show me what you've got!

Fiskateers girls, don't forget to post a comment here with a link to the photo of your artwork!

Inky Smiles!
PS - ignore the ugly color combo... :P

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

8 (GREAT) Years, But It Only Feels Like 12

{this post has been edited... B reminded me that he said 8 (GREAT) years on the card... lol! }

I love my husband for many, many reasons, but today I love him because he showed up for lunch with these today. I have the absolute most fantastic husband in the entire universe. How on earth did I ever get so lucky???

Today was our 8th anniversary. 8 (GREAT) Years (But it only feels like 12).... that's what the card said. He's such a sweetheart :) Thankfully I know he says that with looooooooooove. (mushmush)

I know, I should not be on the computer, but I just cut his hair and he's off showering off the itchy bits and pieces of haircut remnants. :)

We had a fabulous dinner at the Outback Steakhouse... we rarely go there, so it was a royal treat! I even went out on a limb and got something other than chicken.... I never realized how yummy their babyback ribs are!! MMMMMM!

Anyway, we also picked up my new bike (YAY! I will take a pic and post later) and took it home and put it together and spent some time together riding bikes and then jumped in the pool to cool off. It's been so hot and the pool felt soooooo nice.

Well, he's outta the shower, so I better get off the computer!

Inky Smiles!


Saturday, July 14, 2007

IceCream Girls Blog Candy Winner

And the winner is.....


who posted at: July 12, 2007 5:03 PM

Jen, if you will please send me your address, I will pop this candy in the mail to you.

Your Blog Candy is:
Flower Additions - Large Wildflowers by Heidi Grace Designs
These are cool paper flowers with brads in the center.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sketch Challenge 001

Everyone else is doing it, so why don't I?

Thought I would try my hand at a sketch. This one is very random.

Your challenge is to create something fun with this very basic sketch. I have suggested elements for the card -OR- layout on the sketch!
If you want to email me a photo of your creation, I will post it here on the blog -OR- post a comment with a link to a photo of your creation!

Come on... be brave!!! I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Inky Smiles!


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ice Cream Girls

Baby, it's HOT, HOT, HOT outside... We're on day #16 of 98 degrees F and above. Brent's weather station said it reached 101.67 at home yesterday. THAT'S HOT!! We jumped in the pool after work, hoping to cool off, but the water was 92 F!~ SO much for nice and cool~! I left the cover off the pool today to see if I could cool it down a bit for this afternoon's swim with some friends.

We watched a fun show on the Food Network Channel on Saturday afternoon involving a New Flavor Competition for Haagen Dazs ice cream. The flavor that won was called Sticky Toffee Pudding. MMM ice cream, and a new flavor to try!!! Later that evening we were grocery shopping and picked up a pint. Not my fav flavor... Thankfully we also picked up a pint of Creme Brulee to try, too! OH ... That is one DELICIOUS ice cream! Nothing like smooth, creamy, ICE CREAM on a HOT, HOT, HOT day!

I foudn this little test online at BlogThings and discovered that:

You Are A Chocolate Ice Cream Girl

Dramatic. Powerful. Flirty.

Leave me a post telling me what flavor ice cream girl you are and I will draw a name on Saturday for some COOL CANDY :)
Inky Smiles!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

3Fiskateers Misison: Fiskars XL Tag Punch

I am a member of Fiskateers. It's totally cool! My friend, Robyn, told me about it a while back and told me that I'd get a free pair of scissors for joining... Well, a girl can always use a free pair of scissors, right? So I joined, thinking, "ok, I will get the scissors and call it good." The girls in the group are WAY COOL! AND I was invited to take part in a secret 3 Fiskateers Mission.

They sent me a Fiskars XL Tag Squeeze Punch and I got to play with it and come up with a couple of different projects and KEEP the punch. WOO HOO! I thought, "Sweet! an XL tag punch! I was thinking XL would be huge, but when it arrived, I was a bit surprised! The XL tag was only 3/4"x2" OUCH! The XL tag punch is actually fairly small, and I had a difficult time making the tags as the primary focus of projects. They are almost too small to write much on for journaling, but they work fantastic as accents to projects.

Ok, rethink what my original plan was... think, think, think..... SO I put off the project for a couple of weeks and in the meantime, I put together a really cool 8x8" doggie album kit from one of Archiver's cool classes. The kit was PACKED with papers and paper embellishments and so I had all these scraps leftover after.... waste not, want not.

he above photos show how to use the tag punch. Line up Paper & Squeeze Punch.

The first project I made is a very simple card (standard 4.25"x5.5") with tag accents. I used CTMH inks and acrylic stamps, misc. buttons and accents. I sanded the paper and used a textured scrapbook paper for the blue horizontal accent between the red paper and the stamped background. The buttons are adhered with Liquid Glass by CTMH (aka Dimensional Elements by SU). Everything adhered with the Scotch ATG tape gun.

The dog album was so much fun to make. The album pages are made from Basic Grey chipboard which I covered with Dog Days paper by Deja Views. The papers & misc paper accents in the album are scraps that were leftover from a larger 8x8 Dog Days album that I made. The ribbons are a variety of odds and ends from my ribbon jar. The honkin huge nuts and bolts eyelets were from Pebbles In My Pocket... I think they've been discontinued, but they are so fun to use! I literally used only scraps for this album. I think it shows a fun project that I did not have to go and purchase ANYTHING for to create. (My hubby & pocketbook were much happy.)

I used the tag punch to cut out cute accent tags for journaling and other fun tidbits throughout the album. I first cut out the base tag and then adhered it to a contrasting piece of cardstock or paper and then cut around the edges to give the tag some beef. The punch was the perfect size & scale for this mini album. The tags on the page with the word "doggie" on it are removable for hidden type journaling. The tag on the last page with the words "What a Good Dog" is also removable for hidden journaling.

Everything adhered with the Scotch ATG tape gun. The album fits neatly in a little kraft paper box that I picked up at XPedex & altered to coordinate with the album.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Pull The Car Over Please... The Rest Of The Story

Well, kids, it's time to pull the car over and let me out (of direct sales that is)...... I said goodbye on the CTMH consultant bulletin boards... and here's the rest of the story.

Let me give a little background...

For Christmas 2006, Brent built a FABULOUS Christmas present for me. It was a wooden storage unit to house my CTMH Markers and Stamp/Ink Pads. I showed it off to a bunch of girls on the CTMH consultant bulletin boards because I was SO EXCITED to finally have a solution to permanently store my inks in my scrap area. Within hours I started receiving emails from girls asking if Brent would make them one. I think we received well over 100 emails in a week. So, Brent started pricing out how to make them en mass and we started making a few for people who were uber axious to own what we now called an InkStak (tm). To make a long story short, Brent got so busy with the business of making InkStaks that he decided to start his own business. Here we are in July, going strong (we've made some REALLY COOL custom Staks, too) and coming up with more and more ideas for fabulous products.

Last Friday, June 29th, 2007, was my last day as a CTMH Consultant. Over the past several months I have received several emails from their corporate office demanding that I "take down my other Non CTMH website". Also, according to their consultant agreement (which I DID agree to waaay back when), Stamper Storage is competition to them & no spouses should not sell or be owners of businesses selling competing products. (Slap, slap goes the ruler on my knuckles!) I think they fully expected to be able to convince me to have Brent take down his website and close his business. Uhm... not going to happen dear friends, that is not fair to ask of him.

So, with impending CTMH doom (aka HOLD status as a consultant), I hereby hang up my CTMH hat and move on to bigger and better things. Thank you for the memories, CTMH, I hold them close to my heart.

Goodbye CTMH.

~ Memory Trends, CHA, here I COME (eventually...)!!

~ New and fabulous products to enhance your creativity with paper crafting from various manufacturers and organizational products to store your stash in. I've got piles of manufacturer catalogs and accounts being set up. AND... I recently toured the American Crafts facility in Orem. You will not believe the awesome products they offer... (ok, maybe you will, but I was sure thrilled with my FREEEKIN cool Goodie Bag)... THICKERS, RUB-ONS, FABULOUS PAPER, Chipboard elements and RIBBON... ooooh la la!!! Maya Road.. you should see their AWESOME alterable chipboard items... *droool, droool*........... Oh my, big plans in the making.... gotta start small.. haha!

~ Stay tuned for a new division of Stamper Storage!!!

Monday, July 2, 2007


I made the most FUN card for a swap group that I belong to. I can not wait to share it with you, but our fearless leader has not sent the cards to the group members yet, so I can't show you just yet. It's totally fun! I will say that the Embossing Buddy from Stampin' Up is soooo worth the investment!!! If you don't have one, find an SU demonstrator and get one of these hot little buddies!

Here's a sneek peek:

Blog Candy...

Brent picked a number & counted down the list and the winner is.......


And since there is nothing sweeter than CHOCO
LATE & some FRIENDS.... You win some SWEET BLOG CANDY:

1 Chocolate CTMH Stamp Pad

1 Friend themed metal accent pack w/vanilla (aka colonial white) brads

Hope you like your candy! Email me privately with your mailing address a
nd I will drop this in the mail tomorrow!

Inky Smiles!


PS.. We made it back safe and sound this afternoon. Missed our dental check ups, but hopefully we will get back in soon on the cancellation list. (He's got a closed practice, we schedule 6 mos in advance for check ups...)