Friday, December 31, 2010

363/365 - New Year's Eve Lunch

Note - I'm not sure how today is the last day of the year, but I'm only on day 363 of my Project 365. Maybe I miscounted somewhere along the way, or maybe I started late. Who knows. I guess it doesn't really matter - tomorrow is a New Year and today is New Year's Eve!

Which we celebrated with a nice lunch at KoFusion, a nice sushi restaurant in the Downtown area.
10.12.31 - New Year's Eve Lunch

We didn't know that they offered a wonderful buffet at lunch, which included three types of sushi. All the items on the buffet were wonderful - Chicken Curry, Pork and Veggies, Sweet / Spicy chicken, Spicy Tuna Roll, Big Sushi Roll and California Roll, just to name a few.

Brian loves sushi, too:
Brian's Sushi Selection

After lunch, we walked to Pekara bakery, where I ordered a cannoli for desert.
Desert at Pekara

I was kicking myself for not bringing my purse, which holds my camera (you know, when the hubby drives, there's not much reason for me to lug the purse around). I was lucky I had my iPhone, which I used to take the pictures.

There are a lot of unique stores in our small Downtown area. I should go back again with my big camera. I guess it will have to wait until "next year", though!

I hope you have a safe New Year's Eve and a fabulous 2011!


Thursday, December 30, 2010

362/365 - Christmas is 70% Off

'Tis the season for great deals on Christmas decorations.

Brian wanted a taller tree for his bedroom. The little 12" tree we bought several years ago was too small for all the ornaments he put on it and it tipped over constantly.

Today, Brian, Scott and Grandma Fay visited the Target and scored a nice 4 foot, pre-lit tree, 70% off (they paid $17 for it - another bargain). They set it up in his room this afternoon.

Even though Christmas is over, it's nice to have something new and festive in the house.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

361/365 - More Uggs Knock Offs

Ever since Erica purchased her Uggs Slipper from Zappos, I have been coveting a pair. I've worn a hole in my current slipper and the cozy lining is all gone. I was hoping for a new pair at Christmas, but that didn't happen (I'm not complaining - Scott bought me something just as nice - I'll have to take a picture of that tomorrow).

I was mentally prepared to spend between $70 and $100 for a pair of slippers like Erica's. I went to the Zappos website and tried to select a size 7 slipper.

And received this message - "The Shoe / Size Combination you have selected is not Available" - at least 6 times!

OK, I understand. Christmas was a few days ago and I'm sure folks are heavy into the after Christmas shopping thing. I set up the "e-mail me when this selection becomes available" bit. Then I hit the local Outlet Mall's Famous Footwear store after work.

And came home with these:
My Ugg Knock Off Slippers
And I only paid $35 for them!

Let's look at Erica's Uggs to compare:
10.10.25 - Speedy Arrival

I think I can live without the Uggs label on the top. And I will attest that my BearPaw slippers are just as comfortable.

And for $65 less than the Uggs, I think my wallet feels better!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day 360/365 - Mornings

While I wish I had this week off from work, I would have missed the gorgeous, sparkly landscape this morning.

I love the look of these red twig dogwood branches in winter. Covered in frost, they are even more beautiful.
Red Branches

I watched the sun rise as I approached the interstate ramp.
10.12.28 - Sunrise

And that sun really made the pine trees at work sparkle:


Monday, December 27, 2010

359/365 - Just a Small Sampling...

...of the Christmas / Holiday cards we received from friends near and far.

We are so blessed to have friends next door and friends as far away as China. I love the prominence of photo cards and really love it when we get to see picture of the entire family, not just the kids. I wish I could capture all of the cards in one 4x6 capture, but I think this one gets most of them.

10.12.27 - Truly Blessed


Sunday, December 26, 2010

358/365 - Relaxing Day

The last day of my 4-day weekend, and we are just relaxing at home.
Scott caught the Colts game via the internet.
Fay watched the Giants lose to the Packers.
I started reading a book on Lightroom 3.
Erica took a 5 hour nap.
Brian played games at George's house.
The cats napped on the couches.

A perfect lazy Sunday.

10.12.26 - Relaxing Day


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Day 357 - Christmas

A wonderful day, starting with the view of the backyard:

The bonus of having older kids - they don't wake up before the crack of dawn. This was the first year the adults got up before the kids. Around 8:30am, Brian woke up and we sent him into Erica's room to wake her up [otherwise, he wouldn't be opening up gifts until the afternoon].

Surveying the Presents

And later on in the afternoon, the kids played with some of the new toys:
Dad's New Toy

After dinner and another round of Clue, this time with all five of us [I won this time!].
New Edition

A Great Christmas!


Friday, December 24, 2010

356/365 - Christmas Traditions

One of our favorite holiday traditions - making and decorating the gingerbread house.

Roofless for Now

The finished product:
10.12.24 -The 2010 Edition

Christmas Eve and the snow has started to fall:
Snow, Finally Falling

The best thing about snow on Christmas Eve - we don't have to go anywhere and we can simply watch the snow fall peacefully.

Christmas Eve


Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Lost iTouch

About a month and a half ago, on a Tuesday afternoon, Brian admitted that he couldn't find his [2 month old] iTouch. Before getting frantic, I calmly stated - "Oh, don't worry, Brian, I'm sure it will turn up - we just need to look for it harder".

That evening, we searched every little nook and cranny in the family room. I moved couches, stuck my hand into the deep recesses of both couches (not a pleasant activity I'll tell you), and even searched the trash (worse than the couch, by far). Over the next days and weeks, we recounted the days leading up to that Tuesday - where the iTouch had been, who had played with it, etc.

I finally relinquished that it was lost, that maybe I had thrown it away with the papers on the desk. [Because, once upon a time, I accidentally threw away Erica's cell phone along with the Sunday paper - you know, those devices are SO small and light! A total accident! One I am still reminded of from time to time...]. I started to admit to co-workers and friends that buying an expensive electronic device to an 11 year old maybe wasn't such a great idea. I started to think about the impending cell phone purchase and how to mitigate the risks associated that.

[Truth be told, we have very responsible kids - we had never experienced any major issues with belongings and they treat their stuff well. I started to hear all sorts of stories from other parents and realized that we weren't alone!]

Fast forward to Tuesday. Brian's best friend, George, is over. Brian has been spending a lot of time at George's house because George has been grounded from electronics use, and things are "too tempting" over here. Today is the last day of his ban and the two of them are in the basement getting out the board games when Brian discovers his missing iTouch, sandwiched between the board games. Excitement ensues. We laud the discovery. We charge it up a little bit and the two boys start to play with it. I take pictures of the boys, filled with such joy.
Happiness, Right?

Oops - George is still banned from electronics....

So Excited, Forgot About the Electronics Ban

The irony of it all - the only reason why they found the iTouch was because of George's electronics ban. And now he'll be banned for another day. Sorry about that!

But Thank You! We'll make sure you get to play with the iTouch in a couple of days...


355/365 - Clue Game

We had a full day of last minute Christmas preparations, cleaning and laundry. For me, the day started with a much needed run outside - the sun was shining and the road was clear of snow and ice. I have a feeling I won't see these conditions after today (lots of snow in the weather forecast).

I headed out to run errands, but stopped off at Starbucks first.
Peppermint Mocha Day

After my errands, the kids and I spent the rest of the day cleaning and preparing for Grandma Fay's arrival, just in time for dinner.

After dinner, we broke out this year's new CLUE game. Seriously, we have at least 8 versions of the game and there seems to be a newer version each year.

10.12.23 - Time for Clue

Thinking and Rolling the Die

Erica won tonight's game.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

354/365 - New Addiction - Angry Birds

Oh why did I purchase this App? I had heard bits and pieces about this game and hey, it is the number one App on iTunes. And it's only 99 cents. But it's addictive, too.

10.12.22 - New Addiction!

The object of the game is simple - launch the birds out of the slingshot and kill the pigs. Sounds easy, right? Heck, the pigs are even stationary! The key is to get the right trajectory, which can tricky.

The game reminds me of my C+ programming class back in college, where we built a golf game using trajectories (factoring in force applied to the ball and wind speed / direction). Of course, our game graphics didn't really exist (well, I think they consisted of keyboard dashes, dots and slashes - really high tech - NOT!).

The game is a hoot and the best 99 cents you can buy. Now, if only I could get past Level 1-21.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

353/365 - Was Lost, Now Found

The long story short - Brian's lost iTouch has been found. I had resigned myself to its demise, afterall it went missing almost two months ago.

10.12.21 - Was Lost, Now Found

The whole story deserves a separate blog post - and I'll have time to pull it together over the next couple days, so stay tuned.


Monday, December 20, 2010

352/365 - Sweet Treat Surprise

We are blessed to have such great neighbors who are friends. Tonight, Kellie and cute little Maddie delivered some goodies - Puppy Chow and Peppermint Bark. Totally yummy.

10.12.20 - A Sweet Treat

No pictures of the Puppy Chow, and I didn't get much of it - the kids devoured it!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

351/365 - Sleepy Sunday

Can you tell winter break has started for our kids? That's Brian sleeping in the kitchen on the makeshift couch. He's joined by the two cats.

10.12.19 - Cuddled Up

I think the cats will be completely spoiled by the time the kids have to go back.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

350/365 - Magic Time

Tonight's event - the annual work holiday party, complete with Magician.

He even visited the tables before dinner and ran through some cool tricks:
Table Magic

Changing two silver coins into five:
He Started With Two Coins

Then working with doves during the official show:
Four Doves

And picking on the HR Manager:
Dan The Magician?

A fun and entertaining night.


Friday, December 17, 2010

349/365 - The Snow Fort

Snow mound, courtesy of our neighbor, Bob, who plows all the driveways in the cul-de-sac and mounds it up by our driveway. He knows the kids will create a fort.

10.12.17 - Building the Snow Fort


Thursday, December 16, 2010

348/365 - Snow Covered

We received another 3" of snow last night. School wasn't canceled, but that's really for the best - all the end of semester activities, not to mention final tests.

Brian took advantage of the new snow to play. He refuses to wear his normal winter jacket, instead wearing a sweatshirt. He decided to roll around in the snow tonight.

10.12.16 - Covered


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

347/365 - Choir Rehearsal

Even though I'm not feeling great, I will be attending choir rehearsal tonight, from 6-8pm. The singing does improve my mood. Must bring out the endorphins. Heaven knows, I could use some endorphins to break this cold.

10.12.15 - Choir Rehearsal


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

346/365 - Heading South

I think the geese have the right idea - heading south. I saw several flocks flying overhead today. With the lack of wind and bright sun, it must be a good day to travel!

10.12.14 - Double V


Monday, December 13, 2010

345/365 - Cake Prep

I'm making rum cake tonight to bring to a function tomorrow night.

10.12.13 - Ingredients

I've come down with a terrible head cold and can hardly breathe. Will be taking things a little easier (as much as I can!) over then next couple of days.


No Internet! Catching up Days 342-344

Our internet service went down Saturday morning and wasn't fixed until today. Talk about withdrawal!

I knew something was afoot when I saw the AT&T service truck in our cul-de-sac early Saturday morning. Then Scott couldn't get on the internet. I picked up the phone to call - and no dial tone - the phone was dead. Since the DSL signal comes across the phone lines, I knew we were sunk.

The feedback this morning from the AT&T repair guy - "There was another guy out here on Saturday, and while doing his work, he pinched off your terminal". Gee, Thanks. Oh well, at least I still had my iPhone and could receive email via that data link.

So it's catch up time!

Friday, December 10, Day 342/365 - Look what arrived in the mail tonight, from – our 2010 Christmas Card.
And I know the picture on the front looks familiar to everyone.
10.12.10 - The Holiday Card

As usual, the quality of the 5x7 card from Mpix is excellent – this is our 4th year using them. I create the entire card in PSE – the front, back and even the center portion. Now to get them out in the mail before Christmas!

Saturday, December 11, Day 343/365 - – Violin Recital
I admit – I hate performing as a soloist. Even accompanied, there’s so much pressure to play all the notes perfectly. But really, the pressure is self imposed and simply a pride thing. I don’t want to sound bad because it might reflect poorly on me.
So I try to let it go, and do the best I can. It won’t be perfect, but it will be fine.
10.12.11 - Music and Violin

I managed to get through my performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto without too many issues. I am glad my teacher, Ms Kim, pushed me to learn this piece. It certainly challenged me.

Sunday, December 12, Day 344/365 - Inclement Weather

We ventured out for church this morning and that was it. Erica’s horse riding job canceled all classes, so we all stayed home after church. Because outside it’s snowing and the winds are blowing to near white out conditions and the temperatures are dropping to the teens and into single digits again.

That doesn’t deter the kids from going outside to play, and Erica took Sammy out with her.
10.12.12 - Bundled Up for Snow

Then went down the slide together.
A Trip Down the Slide

While the kids played outside, I made my signature Christmas cookies.
Ribbon Cookies

I plan to post the recipe and entire cookie making process this week. By stating that now, it has a 50% chance of actually getting accomplished.

To cap off our snowed in day, we received word late Sunday night that school had been canceled for today. That news set the kids off, high-fiving and jumping for joy. I have to be at work by 7am so no snow day for me. How I wish....


Thursday, December 09, 2010

341/365 - Presents Under the Tree

Well, the presents have started to appear under the tree and with that, the guessing games have started.

10.12.09 - Presents Under the Tree

Brian thinks he has it all figured out:
"This one is a Wii Game - it MUST be Mario Brothers Galaxy Two - it is the most popular game this season."

I give him a blank stare. Scott bought it. I have NO IDEA what it is. It could be a DVD for all I know. Plus, I have NO IDEA about what's popular or not. I tell him as such.

He's not buying it - "Come on Mom, you are so faking it! You know that I guessed it!"

Moving on to the next box, he then declares:
"This is a T-shirt or a sweat shirt. It feels like clothes."

[He's probably right on that one...]

Moving on to the newest box under the tree (from me to Scott):
"Mom, how boring! You got Dad a BOOK! It's big, so it must be a boring book."
[Sure, if you want to think so - but you are so wrong - and it isn't a boring gift].

Lastly, he shakes the box that was delivered yesterday, whose delivery box had Lego catalog sticking out from one of the gaps in the plain brown box [you would think companies would do a better job of packing these things].

"This is my Lego Ship! I just know it!"

Um, hon, did I ever tell you about the Christmas when Auntie Michele searched and found all of her Christmas gifts? She was a little disappointed that year because there were no surprises come Christmas morning....

"Yeah, yeah, yeah - you tell us that story every year! I don't care if I'm not surprised. I can't wait for Christmas!"

And so he goes, rearranging the gifts under the tree. Over and over. Glad it keeps him occupied...

note - this is my 1000th post on this blog! I started this blog in December 2005, but only became really consistent with posting last year with my Project 365. Thanks for visiting!


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

340/365 - Friends

I love that George will let me take his picture, even with heart bokeh.
He takes direction well, too - I told him to stand by the window and look out it.

Brian definitely has a good friend in George.

10.12.08 - Wonder


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

339/365 - Sweetheart and the Tough Guy

This is a neat trick I finally pulled off with the new (to me) 50mm lens - heart shaped bokeh. I'll post something on my photography blog tomorrow (Wednesday) on my set up, but you can go to this post from DIY if you don't want to wait.

First, my sweetheart, Erica. The hearts in the background make her look even sweeter.
10.12.07 - So Sweet

And a dichotomy of sorts - Is this "tough love"?
10.12.07 - Tough Love?

I had a fun time with these and hope to create some additional shapes over the next few weeks, while the Christmas lights are still up.


Monday, December 06, 2010

338/365 - How is This Possible?

10.12.06 - How Can It Be?

How is it possible that my daughter will be going to High School next year? That sweet, little thing that cried and cried the first night we had her home? It just seems like yesterday she was starting kindergarten.....

(now, if I were a good blogger, I would have pictures from kindergarten for you to see - I'll have to get a picture or two to scan in)

Well, future freshman night was pretty straight forward - our next step will be meeting with her future counselor to determine what classes she will take. And based on her grades, it will be a pretty easy discussion [all honors classes].


Sunday, December 05, 2010

337/365 - Meet Frosty

Erica has declared this year's snowman to be the biggest, best-est snowman ever.
She probably right - he's tall, handsome and bound to stick around for a while.

10.12.05 - Happy Birthday!

He's going to stick around, because our high temperatures won't get above 25degF over the next week. And the lows will be in the single digits!

This is My Good Side
I think Frosty is OK with that!


Saturday, December 04, 2010

336/365 - Snow!

So much for the forecast of 1-2". We received over 6" (some reports measured 8", but that seems high), and it was the soft fluffy snow that sticks to everything. Add in temperatures just at freezing and you have nice, packable snow.

Really pretty, too...
Ornamental Grass

Brian played out in the snow all day long.
Playing in the Snow

And with the Thomas boys, the kids built two snowmen.
10.12.04 - Finishing Touches

A perfect way to spend a Saturday in December!


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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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