Wednesday, June 30, 2010

179/365 - Open Windows

After weeks and weeks of oppressive heat, we are enjoying temperatures cool enough to allow the windows to be open. Nice!

10.06.30 - Open Window Night


For Today - The End of June

From The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window….a perfect summer day – clear blue skies, low humidity, 80 degrees.
I am thinking…about my sisters visiting my parents in Plymouth this week. I wish I could be there, too.
I am thankful for…open windows and fresh air.
From the kitchen…Bon-Bon Chicken (shredded chicken with Chinese Peanut Sauce), rice, tofu.
I am wearing…tan shorts and a light green sweater.
I am creating … several “aged” photos using PSE.
I am going…to spend time with the cats this evening since we were out yesterday.
I am reading… “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, on my iPhone, using the Barnes and Noble e-Reader app.
I am hoping…the weather stays this nice through next week.
I am hearing…the soft sounds of the water flowing from the water garden outside.
Around the house…we’re keeping things neat as possible.
One of my favorite things…watching the kids get along and interact with the cats – so cute!
A few plans for the rest of the week…driving the kids around to their friends’ houses, to the pool, to the movies. At some point this weekend, Jill and I will go see “Eclipse”.

And here is a picture I am sharing today - some lilies from the water garden:
First Water Lilies


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

178/365 - Friends

Summertime and the girls love hanging out with each other. It's been several weeks since this trio got together.

10.06.29 - Friends


Monday, June 28, 2010

177/365 - Train Crossing

Seen this morning, after I dropped off Erica at Jen's house. A fitting symbol of this country, as we get closer to Independence Day.

10.06.28 - Train Crossing


Sunday, June 27, 2010

176/365 - Snuggle On The Couch

Sammy loves to snuggle on the couch. Brian was the happy recipient of today's couch time.

10.06.27 - Snuggle On the Couch


Saturday, June 26, 2010

175/365 - Fresh Fuzz

I picked up a quart of fuzzy peaches from the farmer's market this morning. I think these are the first of the season.

10.06.26 - A Little Fuzz

I also picked up corn, beans, zucchini and bread. I think with the warm weather, much of the produce is coming early this year. No complaints here, I just can't wait for the red peppers later on.


Friday, June 25, 2010

174/365 - Blurb Book

I finally started and completed my first Blurb Photo book. I signed up on Blurb several months ago after seeing some of their gorgeous books on the various blogs I peruse. I signed up and downloaded the software. And did nothing.

I think that was a month or two ago.

This past week, I received an email with a 15% discount code. I guess I'm a sucker for a sale, because I finally opened up the software and started creating a book featuring the pictures I took during last month's trip to London. I knew I had to act fast, because the discount code is only valid for a week.

Fortunately, the Blurb BookSmart software is really easy to use, with lots of useful layout templates. You can even modify the standard templates and save them as your own. I created a 40 page, 11"x13" book in about six hours. I uploaded it and ordered.

10.06.25 - Blurb Some Memories

This may be the solution to getting my daily pictures out of electronic format. I've lost my desire to scrapbook and don't want to get heavy into the Digital Scrapbooking thing (although this may be considered similar). I haven't printed out pictures since last August and well, I've taken several hundred (maybe even a thousand) since then. Blurb has an option to "slurp" my blog entries into a book, so I may check that out next.

This badge will preview the first 15 pages of the book. I'll report back once I receive it!

Oh, and for those who may be inclined to try Blurb out, the 15% Promo code is FIFTEENOFF, valid until June 30 at 11:59pm, Pacific Time.


Weekly Gratitude - Dishes [Routine]

Weekly Gratitude - Dishes to Clean


Thursday, June 24, 2010

173/365 - Fishing for Dinner

Scott took Brian fishing today, out at Kickapoo Park. It was a perfect summer day - not too warm with low humidity. And they brought home dinner!

Brian caught this crappy fish (pronounced "cr-ahhh-py")
What I Caught

The Catch

And we scaled it, gutted it and grilled it:
On the Grill

Delicious! We ate every bit of it and Brian wants more.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

172/365 - Raspberry Time

At our last house*, I planted several raspberry bushes in the backyard. It was an easy thing to upkeep - the backyard was mostly wooded and I actually had time to tend to the plantings.

I had plans to plant some brambles here, too, along the western edge of the house, but just never got around to it.

But since my neighbors have planted their own raspberries and have offered up their fruit, I may get my raspberry fix without having to plant my own.

Or, I'll get inspired and finally plant my own.

Ripe and Ready

Or, maybe not.

* Our previous house in Indiana was sold again, this time to one of our previous co-workers and friends, Elissa and Tom. Elissa reported back to me that this year's raspberry crop is looking wonderful. And I remember being excited to pick a dozen or so berries the first year after I planted them. I'm just glad that the plants are still there, bearing fruit and enjoyment.


For Today - Wednesday, June 23

I love the simplicity of this meme. If you want to participate, you can visit The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window…sun and stifling heat and humidity.
I am thinking…about starting a Blurb Book.
I am thankful for…the great baseball season Brian’s team had, even though they lost their one and only game in the tournament final last night.
From the kitchen…we’ll eat leftovers tonight. With only two mouths at dinner tonight, nothing fancy is required.
I am wearing…khakis and a red polo shirt.
I am creating … a diptych for tomorrow’s Team Up Thursday blog post.
I am going…to spend time with the cats this evening since we were out yesterday.
I am reading… blogs, blogs and more blogs. I should be reading “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, as it is the book club selection for this month.
I am hoping…tomorrow morning won’t be as humid.
I am hearing…Beethoven’s Romance in F Major for Violin. I am re-learning this piece, 25 years after I first played it.
Around the house…the cats are sizing each other up as Sammy settles in. Sammy gets the basement, Hannah and Rascal reign the upper floors when we aren’t around to supervise.
One of my favorite things…nice cool drinks to offset the heat. I’ve been enjoying the mango iced tea I made this weekend.
A few plans for the rest of the week…Brian and Scott are planning to go fishing on Thursday at Kickapoo, then we’ll go see “Toy Story 3” in the evening. Erica arrives back from her 5 day mission trip late Friday night.

A picture to share - Lavender at the Door, taken during my trip to London in late May. I found so many interesting doorways and threshholds there. Very different from what you see here.
Lavendar By the Front Door


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 171 - Championship Game

After rain delays and wet fields, we finally arrived at the Farm League Championship game - our team vs the White Sox.

To add to the excitement, we played the "big field", a couple miles away from our normal field. That's because of the standing puddles of water in our normal field due to last night's torrential rains. Here, the backstop is further away from the batter's box, making the pitching / catching / stealing home dynamic very interesting.

A large crowd assembled to watch the game. By the end of the game, several neighbors and friends stopped by to watch.
Cheering On the Team

Our team started out ice cold, but hung within a couple of runs. Brian knew he had to score to keep things close:
Headed For Home Plate

Slide and Safe

Down by two runs at the bottom of the last inning, it was deja-vu from our last game - two big hits and gusty base running by Gracin and Conner. Gracin managed to score, but then we were stymied.

And thus we were handed our only loss of the season. I could tell the team was a little disappointed, but the other team played a great game, and I think the pressure of going undefeated got to the kids.
A Little Disappointed

But, with some pizza, games and prizes, they finished off the evening with a team celebration.


Weekly Gratitude - Catching Up

I've been behind creating my Weekly Gratitude posts. I hope to get caught up this weekend, and in the meantime, have two Gratitude pictures to share, using May's theme of "Body"

Weekly Gratitude - Eyes

Weekly Gratitude - Hands

I enjoyed digging these photos out, even though they were taken less than a month ago.


Monday, June 21, 2010

170/365 - Nice and Orderly

One of the chores the kids endure - putting away the clean dishes out of the dishwasher. I often take care of the silverware, but today, Brian proved how organized he is.

10.06.21 - Nice and Orderly

Even I don't put the silverware away this neatly. I think he might be promoted in his duties.....


Sunday, June 20, 2010

169/365 - Lazy Father's Day

There was a lot of lazing around today. The heat and humidity continue.

We've had Sammy for over a week now. The integration into our family continues to proceed fairly smoothly. Hannah and Sammy have been playing "tag" with each other. We think they'll up being buddies in the long run.

And why do they always seek out the sunny spot, even when it is 90 degF outside?
10.06.20 - Warm, Cozy Spot

In the evening, we found ourselves at the softball field, where a gorgeous sun was setting.
Sunset at The Softball Field

Hope you had a wonderful Father's Day!


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 168 - Visit to Allerton Park

I finally had the opportunity to drive out to Allerton Park in Monticello this evening [to read the details about Allerton, please visit my SOOC Saturday Blog entry at shirleybehindthelens].

I enjoyed my evening there, even with the heat, humidity and mosquitoes.

10.06.19 - Allerton Gate

A couple more pictures from my visit:
Maze or Parterre

There was a wedding earlier in the day.
Wedding Remants in the Sunken Garden

Some flowers at sunset:

I didn't have time to visit some of the parts of the park (like the sculpture at the far end of the park), so I'll have to go back. I'm thinking the fall.... then winter .... then spring again.


Friday, June 18, 2010

167/365 - Red, White and Blue

My friend, Jill, hosted book club tonight and she went with a patriotic theme of Red, White and Blue. With a blue chicken thrown in to coordinate with the cute chicken theme she has in her kitchen.

10.06.18 - Red White and Blue With a Chicken

Tonight's book club agenda - selecting the next six books for our group. Each member brings a book or two (or more) and we all vote. This allows for a diverse selection to pick from. The top six books are determined and we assign the reading schedule.

I brought two selections, The Happiness Project and Women, Food and God. These selections were a departure from my normal fiction suggestions, but I figured mixing things up never hurt anyone.

The group did choose The Happiness Project, which will be read in January. I think the timing is perfect. And when that time comes around, I'll report back what my group of friends thought about the book.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

166/365 - Gotta Love Technology

Since visiting Michele, Andrew and little Felix, I've been missing my little baby fix. It's one thing to view still pictures (which I do enjoy), or talk on the phone, but video conferencing takes things to a new level!

I had installed Skype on my laptop a few weeks back because I knew Michele had it installed on hers. I had no idea how to "call" anyone, but I managed to link up with Michele this afternoon. I saw her online and pushed that "call" button.

Voila! She and Felix were there! It was like something out of the Jetsons or Star Trek. Of course, I had to take a picture.

10.06.17 - Technology

I'm looking forward to more frequent contact with Michele, and hope the kids will enjoy this new mode of communication. Michele plans to get Mom and Dad set up, too. Then we can hold virtual get togethers! Who knows what we'll be able to do in a couple more years. "Beam Me Up Scotty" anyone?


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 165 - A New Era

It became official at 10:20 this morning - we have another teenager in the house. [The first teenager is our Rascal, who is somewhere between 16 and 17 years old]

To think, a mere 13 years ago, a tiny, 7 pound baby came into this world, after 12 hours of labor. Where did that little baby go?


No longer tiny, but still (mostly) sweet and beautiful.

To celebrate, we chose a yummy Raspberry Chocolate Cake from the local bakery. I haven't been in this bakery since they re-opened earlier this year. Still charming inside:
Tasty Selection

Bakery Seating

Cupcake Choices

Erica chose tonight's dinner destination and we all ate cake after I took some pictures outside. Some would say the kids goofed off....
Goofing Off
....especially Brian....
Silly Pose

And finally a day without rain. A perfect way to start the "Teenage Era"


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

164/365 - Soccer Camp

Yesterday's soccer camp ended with black clouds, torrential downpours and flooded streets. Today, the storms passed through at noon, leaving the hot, sticky air behind. Actually, it's been hot and sticky for the last two weeks. Having all that rain seems to exacerbate things though.

10.06.15 - Mini Scrimmage

Soccer Balls


Monday, June 14, 2010

163/365 - Checking Each Other Out

About a week ago, Sammy the Siamese Cat spent the night at our house. Well, he's back and probably here to stay. Jen and her mother brought him over Saturday, and we think he's settling in now.

Saturday night was a little rough - Sammy is able to open doors (we have those lever-style door handles) and he tried to get out of Erica's room between the hours of 3 and 5 am. Finally, at 5am, Scott and Erica relegated him to the basement. He's been spending his nights there. We keep the basement door secured closed with a 20 pound weight.

Sammy has been introduced to our other cats, Rascal and Hannah. Rascal, being her old, grumpy self decided to attack Sammy, so we are minimizing their interaction. But Hannah and Sammy seem to be exercising restraint with each other. They tend to simply stare at each other:

10.06.14 - Checking Each Other Out

It's not the clearest picture, but Hannah is perched on the chair cushion, looking down at Sammy. Here's to hoping they get to be friends.


I ♥ Faces - All Things Babies

This week's I ♥ Faces Photography Challenge is "All Things Babies" - not just limited to little babies, either - baby animals, baby accessories, anything baby!

Since I just visited my sister and her cute little newborn, I have lots of pictures of little Felix to choose from. I chose a B&W version of me holding Felix by the window. My sister, Michele had tagged the photo as a "Favorite" in flickr, so she must like it.

Staring, Black and White

If you have any photos that are baby related, be sure to enter!


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Day 162 - Storm and the Aftermath

We're thinking that the neighborhood picnic is jinxed - another oppressively hot and humid day, leading up to thunderstorms right at 4:00. I was driving to pick up Erica from the stables when I watched the black mass of clouds roll across the prairie.

The Storm Rolls In

The rain only lasted about 30 minutes so we were able to have the picnic in Lisa and Jeff's garage. It was even clear enough to run the Bounce House and Mega Slide inflatables.

After a couple of hours, another small line of storms rolled through, and left a wake of misty clouds in time for a very yellow sunset, with a bonus:

10.06.13 - Post Storm Reward

A huge rainbow that spanned the sky. My lens isn't wide enough to capture the entire arc, but it was magnificent.

Sometimes you need the storm to get to the rainbow.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day 161 - Rouge Mega Slide Operations

Our neighborhood picnic was scheduled for today at 4pm. A picnic in the park, with burgers and hot dogs, deserts and salads brought in by our neighbors, a DJ and large inflatables. In previous years, the picnic has been scheduled during the late fall, and the cold weather has always been a challenge. So moving it to summer should be a eliminate the weather issue, right?

Well, wrong, as a humid, tropical air descended upon the mid-west. And when you have hot, humid air, you have severe thunderstorms and torrential rains. Of course, one of these severe rain cells passed through our area right as the picnic was scheduled to start.

We rescheduled the picnic for tomorrow, but once the storms passed, and the skies cleared, we decided to unfurl the MegaSlide Inflatable for some unauthorized inflatable action.

Scene at the Park

OK, we're not supposed to operate the inflatables without the official operator from the inflatable company. But, hey, we're a bunch of rule breakers.

And the kids had lots of fun sliding down the MegaSlide.
3 - A Little Bounce

Including the "big kids":
Cheering Jeff On


Friday, June 11, 2010

160/365 -The Triple Lane Slip and Slide

If having the pool wasn't enough, Scott purchased a Slip-N-Slide last night. Another popular, yet fairly fragile water element.

The boys next door are about to run down into the slide. Note that swim suits are not really required to enjoy this ride. And also note that this year's model includes a triple lane configuration for more fun!
Sizing up the Slip and Slide

And guess what - by the end of the night, the boys punctured a hole in the bottom of the slide. Fortunately, it's been raining here, so the slide is constantly wet. We'll have to patch it up with some duct tape in order for the streams of water to spray on the lanes.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

159/365 - Trios

The ducks were hanging out in a pond by the baseball field. I estimate these little guys were born this season.

Young Trio

And these ducks are obviously more mature. They were quacking while swimming around. I even quacked at them and they responded. The group of ducks seemed right at home here.

Green Headed Trio


Wednesday, June 09, 2010

158/365 - Sammy Sleepover

We had a special house guest tonight - Sammy, the Siamese Cat.

Sammy belongs to Jen, one of Erica's friends. But Jen is moving to a new house, and they have decided not to take Sammy with them. Or maybe they will. I think they change their mind daily.

But if they decide not to take Sammy, he will become cat number three for us. And we had a trial sleepover tonight.

Initially, Sammy explored the house while the other two cats were sequestered in their rooms. But then he decided to hide behind the futon:
Big Blue Eyes

He did emerge later to snuggle on the couch with Scott and Erica:
10.06.09 - Comfortable Sammy

He slept peacefully in Erica's room, a very successful sleepover.


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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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