Jerri, you are catching up nicely! On your America layout, if you want to keep realism intact, you might want to consider placing the curly ribbon on top of the photo instead of underneath.
Rhonda, the disappearing text is something known (and annoying) and happens only when you use the Text wrapping. In order to avoid it, you can either duplicate the text layer and convert it to a raster before resizing OR you can make a duplicate of your image, flatten it and then resize (leaving the original intact). As for the shadows, don’t worry; it seems to be a learning curve for everyone so you are in good company. And as far as making basic pages, that is totally fine. Simple layouts can be just as effective as complicated one and it is easier to apply new skills to something simple than getting lost in a ton of stuff on a page.
Linda J, of course, we always learn by mistake. At least we remember more once we make a mistake once (or more than once!). Did you end up getting the video to play all the way through?
Susan, I don’t find your outdoor layout “too busy”. In fact, I find it suits perfectly the outdoors as there will be lots of things outside, trees, paths, rivers, etc.
Linda, when creating a layout, choosing photos is usually taking half the time of the whole project!