Pat, whether you have a trial version or a paid version, it is the same and all the tools should work the same. There might be a different setting that is causing the tools to work differently than what you expect. Can you share a screenshot of the Material palette that does not have categories?
Raymond, for the pinked edges, did you click on the corners to get the whole length of the paper with the even cutout? It looks like you might have done it like with scissors: piece by piece.
Shirley, check the tutorial HERE about the Fill tool. It might be the Mode setting that is different than mine. Great colors on your Family layout!
Cindy, you are doing great with your layout! Did you compare that with your very first layout? You have come quite a way from that first one.
Anne L, candles can be hard to photograph and you did a great job. You had fun with those pinked edges?
Priscilla, beautiful photos and a great layout. I would personally use a narrower and darker shadow on the photos as the blurred shadows give the impression that the photos are floating a little.