Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mosaic Monday - Flower Collection

This week, I decided to "take it easy" and use BHL's Mosaic Maker and a selection of flower pictures off my flickr stream.

Mosaic Monday - Flower Collection

And an exciting announcement - between my this blog and my photography blog, this post marks my 1000th post! What started off in late 2005 as a "fun web thing to try" has evolved into a renewed passion for photography and writing and has allowed me to connect with other bloggers who inspire me every day.

Speaking about inspiration, check out the other beautiful mosaics at Mary's Little Red House


31/365 - Have Some Joy Luck

A follow up picture from Friday's post - the cover of The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.
10.01.31 - Have Some Joy Luck

Even though I've had this book for 20 years, I'm pretty sure it really belongs to my sister, Teresa.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

30/365 - Crowded

Not sure what was going on today, but everywhere I went, the parking lots were completely full. TaeKwonDo, The Starbucks, The Sam's Club, even The Library:

Open Parking Spot

While I realize it is Saturday, it seemed much busier than normal.

Other stuff from today - I ran 3+ miles in the frigid cold, with a nasty wind from the north. It was freezing. Erica went to a friend's birthday party / sleep over. [So there's been no fighting with Brian all day long]. Brian and Scott have been hanging out with the cats.

Just a nice, lazy Saturday.


Friday, January 29, 2010

29/365 - Book Club Night

One Friday a month, we gather to share food and laughter, catching up with those little and big details of our lives, and discuss the month's book selection. Well, maybe our book discussions take back seat to the other discussions, but it gives us a concrete reason to get together [and I've managed to read most of the books].

This month's selection was a book I suggested - The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. The book's stories remind me of my childhood, my relationship with my mother and sisters, and how we are all tied to the culture of our ancestors.

But, much like the discussions during our gatherings, the main purpose of this post isn't to discuss the book, but to focus on my lovely friends who make "Book Club Night".

Heather, here with Janice, who serves as our Leader:
Heather and Janice

Karen, tonight's gracious hostess:
Our Gracious Hostess

Talking Kellie

Lisa and Shelly:
Lisa and Shelly

Heather with Jill:

Janice, Pensive

I didn't get pictures of Amy or Jennifer - I'll have to get them next month (well, maybe not Jennifer - she's due to have baby number 3 in a couple weeks).

These ladies are the best and so much fun.


Weekly Gratitude - Music

I post frequently about my love of music. It's one of those universal that spans cultures, languages and generations.

10.01.29 Gratitude - Music


Thursday, January 28, 2010

28/365 - I Love it When She Smiles

One of those rare occasions when Erica will actually let me take a picture of her, and she actually smiles. I think she was glad that I took her and her friend to the volleyball game at the last minute.

10.01.28 - All Smiles



Wednesday, January 27, 2010

27/365 - Definition of Insanity

You know - doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. We need to make sure we "put away" our headphones at night. Because this is the 3rd pair of headphones Hannah has mangled. She seems to know to look for them on the kids' nightstands, too.

10.01.27 - Third Mangling


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

26/365 - Cup and Bowl

I took another shot of the bowl of chicken noodle soup we had for dinner, but I like this one better because of the kitty cat glass.

10.01.26 - Cup and Bowl

We bought the glass at the now-closed World Market - glasses with cats, dogs, frogs, cows, bunnies and other assorted animals imprinted on them. I know the kids will remember these glasses when they grow older [Just like I remember the daffodil plates we used when I was growing up].


Project 365-2010 Week 3

I loved how easy and fast last week's mosaic was, so I created another one for Week 3:

P365 2010 Week 3

1. 10.01.17 - Pretty in Pink, 2. 10.01.18 - Necessary Condiment, 3. 10.01.19 - Last Minute Project Work, 4. 10.01.20 - No Outside Recess Today, 5. 10.01.21 - Rainy Night at TKD, 6. 10.01.22 - At the Dance, 7. 10.01.23 - Chocolate Goodness

Check out the other P365's at Jessica Turners' Project Life Tuesday's blog entry.


Monday, January 25, 2010

25/365 - Haircut

My semi-annual haircut. Yeah, my last one was in June and my hair is SO long.
Before the Haircut

I had 3 inches taken off, and layers re-layered.
10.01.25 - Haircut

The best part - it won't take 15 minutes to dry my hair now.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mosaic Monday - Out At Night

With the gray, foggy days, I decided to take pictures at night instead. I love how the mysterious aura the fog creates, especially at night.

Mosaic Monday - Out At Night

For more mosaics, head over to Mary's at Little Red House.


24/365 - Football and Friends

Say what you want about football, but a game that brings people together is OK in my book. This afternoon, a group of us gathered at the local pizza / sports bar establishment to watch the Colts play the Jets.

10.01.24 - Afternoon of Football

Scott, our big Colts fan, was nervous for the Colts, especially late in the 2nd quarter. But the Colts prevailed and are poised for the Superbowl in two weeks. That means our annual Superbowl party will have extra excitement this year.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

23/365 - Carnival Chocolate Melting Cake

While on our cruise, the kids came to LOVE this decadent dessert called "Chocolate Melting Cake". It was offered every night and every night the kids chose it, along with hot chocolate. Conversations with other families who had cruised on Carnival revealed a common theme - the great love of the Chocolate Melting Cake.

So I searched for a recipe on the internet and found it - the "official" Carnival Cruise Line's Chocolate Melting Cake recipe:

•8 ounces of semisweet chocolate
•1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
•7 eggs, divided use
•6 tablespoons of sugar
•1/2 cup of flour
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Melt the chocolate and butter and cool for 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix four eggs with sugar. Whisk. Then add flour and whisk. Add the remaining three eggs and add the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture. Pour this entire mixture into individual ramekins. Bake until just done, about 15-20 minutes (interior will be melting). Serve with vanilla ice cream.

And of course, I made it tonight. I even bought custard cups at the store for the occasion.

10.01.23 - Chocolate Goodness

The verdict? Well, I cooked them a *little* too long, so the cakes were set all the way through, vs having a melted center. They were still REALLY good, but next time, I'll either bake them at a lower temperature and certainly for less time.


Friday, January 22, 2010

22/365 - Middle School Dance

Erica attended her first middle school dance tonight - I think several of her friends decided to attend, because it was very "last minute" or "spontaneous". After I dropped her off, I watched other parents drop off their kids.

I'm hoping this picture will help her recall the details of her first dance in the future, because I know she won't divulge any details other than "yeah, we had fun".

10.01.22 - At the Dance


Weekly Gratitude - 3pm Quitting Time

Not only do I love my job, I get to leave at 3pm every day, which allows me to spend more time with my kids and help keep things organized at home.

Gratitude 10.01.22 - Quitting Time


Thursday, January 21, 2010

21/365 - Rainy Evening

More rain today, but I thought I would take a picture at night instead of during the dreary, gray day. I took Brian to TaeKwonDo after dinner.

10.01.21 - Rainy Night at TKD


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

20/365 - Freezing Rain

Brian and his school mates certainly didn't have Outdoor Recess today:
10.01.20 - No Outside Recess Today

As a result of the freezing rain, all evening activities were canceled. So we're watching "Monster Quest" on TV right now. I don't have a say in tonight's programming, as I would have picked "American Idol". Oh well, I've been working on the computer anyways.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

19/365 - Last Minute Project Work

Here is the announcement Brian made around dinnertime -

"Hey, Mom.... you know that folder with the mountain lion pictures in it that you asked about last weekend? Well, I need to write up a report on mountain lions and pass it in tomorrow or I will receive an 'F'......."

Ok, that got my attention.

So, after some quick research on the internet, Brian started writing up his little report on mountain lions and how they've become endangered in the US. Fortunately, we're not talking about a huge thesis-level report - just the basic facts.

10.01.19 - Last Minute Project Work

Normally, Brian stays on top of his homework and long term assignments. His teacher knows this too, and that's why he was given until tomorrow to pass it in, because the original due date was today! Apparently, Brian convinced her to grant him a small extension. He's a lucky boy, don't you think?


Project 365-2010 Week 2

I found a great Project 365 resource to keep folks motivated with their daily picture taking. Even though this is my 2nd year of Project 365, I can always use a little inspiration and help to keep me going.

Case in point, yesterday afternoon, I wasn't so keen on taking my daily picture. Truthfully, I was in a grumpy moody, faced with the task of cooking dinner, coercing my kids to pick up their rooms, to finish their homework and whatever they had managed to put off all day [THEY had the day off to laze around - I did not!]. I really didn't want to take my picture.

But I forced myself to take another picture of the pretty gerbera daisies on the kitchen table. And guess what? That simply task of taking a picture of a beautiful flower perked me up. And I took a couple more pictures [because I needed another picture for my photography blog]. It felt good!

So, that Project 365 Resource - it's Jessica Turner at The Mom Creative, and every Tuesday she holds Project Life Tuesdays. Go check it out by clicking on the badge below:

So I'm supposed to showcase my week two photos here. Here's where I had some fun with a Mosaic Maker at Bug Huge Labs, which links up to my flickr account. It was really easy to create this mosaic of my Week 2 pictures:
Project 365-2010 Week 2
1. Balanced, 2. 10.01.11 - The Big Thaw, 3. 10.01.12 Mac-n-Cheese in Style, 4. After Chess Club, 5. 10.01.14 - Snow Fort, 6. 10.01.15 - Green Nails, 7. 10.01.16 - Path to Nowhere

Have a great Tuesday - I'll be back later with today's Project 365 picture!


Monday, January 18, 2010

18/365 - Necessary Condiment

Tonight's dinner called for one of my favorite condiments - Hoisin Sauce. It is a barbecue-like sauce containing fermented soy, sugar, vinegar, garlic and chili. And this brand - Koon Chun - is the only one I will use. I remember my mother using this brand when I was growing up. I have to go to the Asian market to find it, but it's so worth it.

10.01.18 - Necessary Condiment

Tonight's recipe -
Cut up 1lb chicken breast into thin strips. Marinate in 1 Tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tsp sugar.
Cut up red pepper into strips, 1 carrot into thin julienne strips, chop up 2 green onions, chop 2-3 cloves of garlic. Slice 4-6oz mushrooms.
Heat wok, add 2 Tbsp oil. Stir fry chicken in wok. Remove cooked chicken from wok. Add red pepper, carrot, mushrooms and stir fry for a couple minutes until softened, add green onions and garlic, cook another minute. Add cooked chicken, 2Tbsp hoisin sauce and 2Tbsp orange juice and cook for a couple more minutes.
Serve with rice or in lettuce wraps.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mosaic Monday - Foggy Days

A compilation of the foggy shots taken this weekend.

Mosaic Monday - Foggy Days

Whew, this was my 2nd week in a row completing a mosaic. I created the 5x7 template from scratch, but really, it was quite easy.

For more mosaics, visit Mary at Little Red House.


17/365 - Pretty in Pink

After years of not buying cut flowers "because they will only die in a week", I find myself nowadays considering their beauty a gift to be enjoyed.

10.01.17 - Pretty in Pink

And who can resist sunny gerbera daisies during the gloom of winter?

I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.
- Emma Goldman

Where flowers bloom so does hope.
- Lady Bird Johnson


Saturday, January 16, 2010

16/365 - Foggy Saturday

Not much going on here today - Scott worked out, the kids slept in and I "ran" 3 miles in the freezing fog this morning before deciding the street were just too slippery. I was literally "running on ice" (like the Billy Joel song goes) and not able to run very fast.

I extended my run by getting my camera to take some foggy pictures in the neighborhood.
Path to Nowhere

This afternoon - pizza, basketball, more basketball, and football. More football tonight, as Scott's team, the Colts play. It could be a tense evening, but hopefully not.


Friday, January 15, 2010

15/365 - Green Nails

Jill invited us over to her house tonight for game night. Their latest addition - Lego Rock Band. I decided to bring over a bottle of Moscato. And what better way to showcase Erica's lovely nails - have her hold the bottle of bubbly because the label coordinates with the green.

10.01.15 - Green Nails

We had fun playing Mexican Train Dominos and rocking out to that Lego Rock Band game!


Weekly Gratitude - Engineering Standards

In light of the devastation in Haiti, I thought I would express my gratitude to the engineering standards that keep our factories, roads and civil structures safe.

Gratitude 10.01.15 - Engineering Standards

Please check out Weekly Gratitude with Karen and Lori. It's never too late to express gratitude.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

14/365 - Building It

I came home to the sight of five boys busy at work building a snow fort in front of the house. They were having a great time.

10.01.14 - Snow Fort


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

13/365 - Apres Chess Club

I went to pick up the boys from chess club this afternoon, only to find them playing out in the snow. Apparently, they finished up a little early [well, maybe they only played two chess games instead of three].

I can't say I blame them - with abundant sunshine and [relatively] warm temperatures, it was perfect snowball weather. See, they created lots of snowballs on the bench:
Wall of Snowballs

Brian didn't want me to take his picture (what else is new?), but I took it anyways.
After Chess Club

Back at home, the snow fort building continued. Let's hope the snow doesn't all melt over the next couple days.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

No 12on12 - Old GBYSO Sticker Instead

I realized around lunch that today was the 12th, which meant I had already missed out on the morning's opportunity for my 12 on 12 photos. I took a couple pictures and then decided not to participate today - I'm just going to "Relax" instead and maybe take more pictures tomorrow or the next day.

But I'll share one picture what would have been included - my violin case in my office at work. Tuesday afternoons, I leave directly from work to my violin lesson, and my violin doesn't spend time out in the cold car, so I bring it to my office.

Violin Case

I studied violin from 3rd to 12th grade growing up, and this is the "real" violin my parents purchased for me in high school when I was auditioning for various orchestras. I've kept the original case and sticker from the youth orchestra I played in - I can't seem to let that sticker go. The Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra still exists, although they've "rebranded" to the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra. The logo seen here no longer exists, either, and I have googled for it and always come up empty. So that's my excuse for keeping the sticker and I'm sticking to it!


12/365 - North Face Jacket

Erica's middle school "uniform" is complete now - the latest addition, the ever popular North Face fleece jacket. I posted on my Facebook status that she just HAD to have one, and that I was making her pay for the jacket (including the 8.75% tax). Erica spent several hours vacuuming and cleaning the house in order to earn the remaining cash she needed.

Here she is, wearing her beloved North Face jacket, cooking up some Mac-n-Cheese.
10.01.12 Mac-n-Cheese in Style

In case you are wondering what the "uniform" is, go to any middle school (or high school / college for that matter) and see all the girls wearing North Face jackets, skinny jeans and Uggs boots.


Monday, January 11, 2010

11/365 - The Big Thaw

This morning, the thermometer read 23degF. Sounds cold, but that's 30 degrees warmer than yesterday. That's like going from 40 to 70. Big difference!

Here's the proof - I haven't seen this much of the pond waterfall since the new year.
10.01.11 - The Big Thaw

Hope your Monday has been warm and cozy (relatively speaking).


Mosaic Monday - Ice Crystals

My first Mosaic Monday entry. Who knows, it could be my last [probably not, but it may be several more weeks until I get the chance to shoot another collection].

Yesterday morning, at -13degF, it was SO cold that all the moisture had been sucked out of the frigid air and crystallized itself on every exposed element outside. Of course, such cold temperatures are a result of high pressure air systems, which means abundant sunshine and - beautiful, shimmering trees, flower stalks, even mailboxes.

So I ventured outside to take pictures of all the sparkling beauty around me. When the winds kicked up, many of the ice crystals were swept in the air, causing the air to glimmer. It made being outside bearable.

For the mosaic, I modified a storyboard template from Rita at CoffeShop Photography. Rita's free tutorials, storyboards and actions are top notch. I've learned so much from her and you should check her website out.

Ice Crystals

For more Mosaic Monday, please visit Mary at Little Red House.

And stay warm - a "heat wave" up to 30degF is coming!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

10/365 - Hannah Around the House

Normally, Hannah may be found snuggled up with one of us on the couch. But for some reason, this afternoon she preferred to perch on the banister half way up to the 2nd floor. We were concerned the first time she balanced herself in this seemingly precarious position, but quickly realized her superior balance wouldn't cause her to fall.

10.01.10 - Cat High Up

On the Ledge


Saturday, January 09, 2010

9/365 - Cold Smoothies on a Cold Day

I don't know why, but the kids really wanted cold smoothies today. This morning's outside temperature was a frigid -9DegF and the high was a chilly 12DegF.

But the sun was shining, the car was toasty warm, and we used the drive through at the Smoothie King. Erica and Brian both got the Orange Ka-Bam and I had the Mangosteen Madness smoothies.

10.01.09 - Chilly for a Chilly Day

And we all knew "why" we were cold when we got out of the car - those smoothies are COLD!


Friday, January 08, 2010

Weekly Gratitude - Telecommuting

I was introduced to the Weekly Gratitude Project by my friend, Lee, who always finds the most inspirational and thought provoking content on the web. Today marks my first Gratitude Post, using January's theme of "work". I may not adhere to the monthly theme every week, but this week, it was a natural fit.

I am using a PSE template, based on Karen's format. I really like the template idea - and hopefully at the end of the year, I'll simply have each week's jpg file printed and into a nice book.

Gratitude 10.01.08

It's not too late to join in with Lori and Karen at Weekly Gratitude and to start your own Gratitude Project.


01.08.10 - The Snowy Outdoors

The view of the west side of the house, the same window I took a picture of yesterday, only from the outside. It's going to be a cold one, with the weekend even colder!
10.01.08 Corner of the House

I took the picture as we were headed to school this morning - only two towns in our county didn't cancel school today - ours was one of them, and the kids were not amused. I told them - Hey, it only means the other schools will in session one extra day in the summer. Not sure if that was any consolation.

Erica has a couple friends over this afternoon, they will go see a movie (I'm planning to see It's Complicated while they are watching Did You Hear about the Morgans), and then one is sleeping over.

Happy Friday!


Thursday, January 07, 2010

01.07.10 - Snow Day

Looking at the radar last night, we were fairly certain today would be a snow day for the kids. [although the school district didn't officially cancel school until 5:30 this morning, and I was already up in case they did have school - ready to shovel out the driveway] I also opted to "telecommute" to work in order to avoid the snow covered roads. A true snow day!

By the afternoon, we accumulated over 6 inches of snow and with the winds starting to howl, snow drifts as deep as foot covered the driveway and side of the house. But from inside, white fluffy stuff appeared as beautiful sugar sprinkled on a cake.

Snow on the Window


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

01.06.10 - H1N1 Vaccination

I'm now officially vaccinated against H1N1. The public health department in Douglas County arranged a vaccination clinic at our workplace this morning, and since I am afflicted with mild asthma, decided I should get the vaccine.

10.01.06 - H1N1 Vaccination

Yes, actual sharps with the vaccine, but not the one used on me. I took the picture after I had my shot. The nurse running the clinic remembers me from the time I nearly passed out after receiving three shots back in 2006 (read here for the details on that experience, LOL), so she made sure I relaxed before and after my shot.


Calendar Project

I finished up the calendar pages for our 2010 family calendar. I used pictures from 2009 and various free digital elements downloaded off the web.

The slide show is embedded here:

This year, I ordered the calendars from Shutterfly. In the past I have used Kodak Gallery, but Shutterfly has great calendar deals right now, along with free shipping on orders greater than $40. I ordered 4 calendars and a set of custom note cards for $55. You really can't beat that!


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

01.05.10 - Calendar Layouts

I've been busy creating digi-layouts for our annual custom calendar. I am about 75% complete and need to finish the remaining months tomorrow in order to get the calendar created before the first month of 2010 is over!

I've done this project for 3 or 4 years now, and several people have come to expect one each year. [This includes me - I hang one up in my office - Scott has one, too].

Here is January's calendar page:
January 2009

Will share the rest when I get them finished!


Monday, January 04, 2010

01.04.10 - Hot Coffee on a Cold Morning

Sara's coffee cup, right before our 10:30 meeting to release product produced over the weekend. You can't see the steam rising off the mug, but it was there and it was the reason I took the picture.

10.01.04 - Hot Coffee
Taken with my iPhone 3G

I regretted leaving my DSLR in the car this morning, as I'm sure it would have captured the rising steam, a welcome bit of warmth in today's continued cold. Note to self - just lug the camera into the office - then there won't be any regrets, and the camera's battery won't be shot after 7 hours in a 10degF car!


Sunday, January 03, 2010

01.03.10 - Puzzle Work

Another traditional holiday activity - the jigsaw puzzle.

This year's puzzle was a gift from Grandma, a Thomas Kinkade selection. Scott has been working on it - he's the puzzle person in our household.

01.03.10 - Puzzle Work

Sunny days in the winter means one thing - it's COLD outside! Yep, only -6DegF this morning with a high of 9degF. Hoping for some warmer weather in the coming days.


Copyright Notice

All images on this blog (unless stated) are the intellectual property and copyright of SLPhotography and shirley319 (© 2009, 2010). Do not steal, borrow or pirate the images here.

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code. and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act) prohibits the use of digital property to be used without the consent of its owner.

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