10X10 February- Winter hibernation

As usual I am a ‘tad’ late in getting my post up. I did do the photos ahead of time, but did not totally get things figured out.

The day I captured was a lazy day as we did not have school (Martin Luther Kind Day). It WAS fantastic as we got up late and just relaxed. I would have been miles ahead had I just edited the images and posted them then, live and learn!

10AM Waffles – I think we are getting the idea that we love waffles around here. It was up for breakfast the last day I did the 10×10, and who know it very well could be on the menu the next day I do one. I know i need to kick the diet coke habit, but until then I will enjoy one with my waffles.

11AM It’s a lazy day today. It’s about -25 with the wind chill (maybe colder but I shut down past -25) so staying in PJ’s is just fine by me. We love playing games and today we had fun with Headbands!

12PM Mario Kart! On a super cold day there are only so many things we can do. Today it’s nice that the kids are willing to play together nicely – even if just for a few minutes.

1PM Lunch time is always fun on lazy days. Today I made mini muffin tin pizzas for the kids — they loved them and I love how easy they are to create. Just some refrigerated biscuits, pizza sauce and cheese. Bake and you have a fun kid lunch in just 15 minutes.

2PM Mario Kart – Revisited John loves that he can play with friends during the day – and some times he can play with friends we normally do not see much of during the week. Today, it even better since it’s not a balmy -10 I am letting have another hour (or two) of TV/Screen time. Yup hate me if you will, but we have already read books, colored, done homework, and played several rounds of Rumkub. Cold days like this are what make winter my least favorite season.

3PM Beading – Iron beads are Kate’s latest obsession. We have fun picking out the beads and creating patterns. We change things a few dozen times – and try to figure out fun patterns with no repeats.

4PM Busted – Daisy is our newest family member and while we don’t usually let her on the furniture, she always finds a way to her favorite spot. She picks this spot because of the late afternoon sun streaming in the windows. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I love that you can see the ‘busy’ life we have behind her!

5PM – Making cookies and fruit dip for lunches this week. Kate loves to cook with me and while it’s not a ‘neat’ process, it’s one of my favorite things. Love the open lazy susan, the project Christmas tree and of course the light sabres on the counter.

6PM – Off to Karate – John LOVES Karate and I love that he has something that he enjoys and wants to practice.

7PM – John is still at Karate and Kate is asleep – my job is to get their back-packs and other gear ready for the day. I am so glad I am documenting the seemingly small things – one day I will look back and be happy that I have! Take a look at Danielle’s busy life on her photography blog!

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Mommy Can’t Do everything – My new Mantra

I have been wanting to be a “blogger” for a long time. At first it was just a way to share photography with others, but over time my idea of what I wanted to do evolved. My biggest stumbling block was finding the right perspective, something that was ‘me’ but about a topic others want information on.

Let’s face it there are hundreds of blogs covering a million topics, and everyone says to be successful you need to have a NARROW focus. What could I offer my readers? Couponing or money saving tips? There are already hundreds of Money saving blogs and none (in my humble opinion) are better the Pocket Your Dollars, so why wouldn’t I just tell everyone to read tips there.

I am creative (sort of thanks to Pintrest), but the Creative Mama really does a nice job, and they highlight other great Mom bloggers. Photography – well there are HUNDREDS of blogs devoted to this topic, again, so what would make mine different? Why wouldn’t readers just scour Pintrest to find great crafty blogs.

Food – well I am not a super creative chef and I LOVE the Kitchen Whisper so why wouldn’t I just send everyone her way? She teaches you how to make your own Taco Seasoning and Vanilla along with providing amazing recipes to try (I know because I have tried a few and they are tasty).

Thankfully I am dealing with life changing events like divorce (Scorned and Bitter Blog), chronic illness and other life challenges (Momastry).

I could continue on and on, just think of a topic and there is at least one if not hundreds of blogs on the topic and they all deal with their subjects well.

So what does that leave? Something of a ‘random things’. Wait there’s already a blog that does that, Lisa Russo, she covers everything from her amazing fine art prints, to great iPad apps (thanks again for sharing those).

In the end I am just a Mom, granted you would say an ‘older’ Mom. I am pretty sure, although I don’t follow one with that perspective, one already exists. So what do I have to offer? Truth is I am not sure. I hope I can offer a fun realistic look at family life – and that to balance it all Mommy CAN’T do EVERYTHING!

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New Year – New Things

I am trying to be better this year about taking photos of the everyday, that is after all, why I started on my journey into photography. I love capturing those moments the little things.

To do this I am a part of a few photo-blogging groups. The first is a group that is dedicated to capturing ten photos in one day. It’s in essence a photo an hour to document a typical day. We each blog about our days and then post to another person in the group. I am sending you on to Jennifer Kruk Photography at the end of my blog post!.

Well, this month I half succeeded and half failed. I started to do this on a weekend, but then the day took over and i didn’t have a camera with me, sadly no iPhone for a bit of iphoneography! Trying to do this on a work day was just as challenging. However, I do have a few photos that represent a few ‘typical’ moments from our days!~

Early AM (usually 6a.m.) we eat breakfast. Normally it’s not bright out, but soon we will be seeing the sun before we head off to work and school~

Then we head to work/school and come back around 2:30 – I love that my schedule pretty much allows me to be gone just while my son is at school. My daughter comes with me and when it’s nicer I need to document that part of our lives.

2:30pm Home – and it’s time for snacks. Yes I did make waffles AGAIN. The kids love them and they are at least fresh. We tried the frozen thing, but after kids leaving the box open by the end they were icy messes. Personal goal figure out how to make my own mix so it’s super easy to whip these up for the kids!

3:00pm – Play time. J had a friend over, and they decided to wear her Butterfly wings – I am not sure K was too happy about the way they were taking over her stuff!

3:30pm – The boys have moved on and it’s just K and her little play hut. I have to say that was a last minute purchase after the holidays (clearance aisle) and it has been a huge hit! She loves to take her stuff in there and play. She stays out of the boys way and they stay clear of her. It’s a few minutes of peace.

7:30pm – Homework clean-up. Homework is a huge part of what we do in the afternoons/evenings. Some days we do it right away, other days it’s more of a struggle to get through it all, so we wait until the house has calmed down and things are a bit more sane.

Next month I will be better prepared and I already have ideas and plans to do this on a day when we have more happening. In the name of disclosure I also took a few other photos but did not get them edited! For more everyday moments check out Jennifer Kruk Photography

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Busy and More Busy

I can not believe how busy I have been lately. I want to keep up more then I am with everything. However, being a Mom, Techy, Blogger and defacto Mom to puppies often means things are always up in the air, and sometimes, a few balls fall down.

I have NOT been taking photographs lately, which is sad. I know I should be I have just been so busy. I am starting to feel like that Mom who always has a reason why I am not taking the photos.

I don’t always have a camera because I only have two hands and a few other things to worry about carrying with them. I wonder where the Mom who carried her camera everywhere went. I just have to dig deeper and remember to grab my camera more often. If Santa is reading I would love to have a compact digital camera, but not another SLR to carry with me (one I feel good about taking everywhere!).

The puppies have more photos right now then the kids! I need to change that.


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Fall – Day 2 Pumpkins

Yesterday we picked up a few small pie pumpkins. I am not sure I will actually make the pie filling, but there is always a chance. We got them because they were cute, small and at just $1 each an easy way to decorate for the coming holidays. Kate loves her pumpkins and asks hourly when can we carve them. I suppose, she has not yet caught on to our other family tradition, carving our pumpkins just minutes before the first trick-or-treaters arrive. I can’t wait to see what faces she comes up with this year — my bet is on silly rather then scary, but you never know.

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Fall Traditions – Day 1

I know that I am always trying to start a photo a day. Only time will tell if it takes this time. I just know I have missed making photography a part of my everyday life, so I am going to just get going again.

Every year since John was born we have always gone to the same Apple Orchard. I LOVE FALL, I love apples and most of all I love the excitement and fun of the apple orchard. I have been going for years, long before I had kids, in fact. It’s a part of my fall ritual, and now it’s becoming a part of the kids. In the years before John I would drive South and go to my favorite orchard. This was a pretty good trek from our home, but well worth the trip. Then I had John, and longer car trips were not always the best option, not to mention we wanted to find something a bit closer to home. We happened upon Apple Jacks, and found our ‘family’ orchard. They had just the right amount of fun mixed with apples. My favorite is the cow train — I will be sad when the kids finally out grow taking the cow train ride.

I remember the fall day we stopped, it was warm, and John CRIED when we sat him with the pumpkins. He was very upset and wouldn’t have anything to do with them that year. We moved and ended up right down the road (as the crow flies) from Apple Jacks. Since that time, I have learned that apples start to come in as early as September (yes we have gone then some years) and that contrary to the opinion of others in my family there are other good baking apples, besides the Harlson (though it’s a great apple).

I learned that apples do not peel themselves, that they do freeze (but you have to actually prepare them), that just as much as the rituals of Spring the rituals of Fall are true family events. This was the first year John didn’t seem excited — he’s growing older and soon will scoff at the tradition, until his son want’s to ride the cow train!~

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I know that I should have made a photo a day work, after all it’s just one photo a day. Try as I might I almost never make it past February or March. It first starts with not getting to edit the photos, then goes to I forgot a day so I can make it up, until at the end I am avoiding my camera. I do that often, for as much as I LOVE to take photographs, I have also in a way become my own worst enemy.

I start by not wanting to haul my cameras with me (and they need a good cleaning and tune up too), then it’s ‘the kids won’t work with me’, until finally I just give up. I rationalize it, that I can’t do great in the moment photos (no iPhone), I don’t have a decent point and shoot (for those that don’t know me I have pretty high standards for even snaps — something I am working on). The result is that, me, queen of capturing the everyday, hides from taking photos for the rest of the year.

This year I have a new plan, it’s to start my photo a day with Halloween, maybe even a few days before, the goal is to make my ‘few’ weeks of diligence pay off by capturing the magic of the holidays. Who knows I might even make it through the hump and take it a full year.

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I figured my ‘reappearance’ in blogging should start with something HUGE/MONUMENTAL/EPIC, but if I wait for that photograph or image I could be waiting a long time. So instead I am going to start with chocolate and a photo that I didn’t take.

I figured just jumping in was better then waiting for the perfect moment, because when you have eight dogs and two kids there is never a ‘prefect’ time to start a new project. So while I am trying to figure out how to balance life (you know kids/working/dogs), I thought I would share a few thoughts on a new candy I recently tried.

I have to admit at first the packaging threw me a bit, it was a bit modern and I thought it looked less like candy and more like something space age. However, once I tried it I was hooked, and more importantly the kids LOVED it. I have been trying to reduce the amount of corn syrup/artificial preservatives and hydrogenated oils in our daily lives. This is so much easier then said with how busy we are and the things the kids love.

They took to the candy and now ASK for THIS candy when we are at the store. I never thought I would see the beloved chocolate covered candy replaced or that anything could come close to having that chocolaty peanut butter taste found in an orange package. I was wrong, mark it on the calendar kids, Mom said she was wrong (about candy no less).

I love the new yellow stripped package of peanut butter cups and the blue package with chocolate candies. Here’s a thought if they figure out a way to put the peanut butter in the chocolate candies — well that just might be my perfect candy.

In full disclosure I have to admit up front that I was lucky enough to try the candy for free – the first time because I was/am a BzzAgent. The next 50 3 times I purchased it was done so at my own expense and I will gladly continue to purchase it.

Up next — life with the puppies — it’s never dull!


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Calibration and Photo Editing

I know that one of the biggest things that happens when you need to edit your photographs, is that color does not always look the way you want it to. There are a few reasons for this, but most of them can easily be addressed with a few tips and tricks.

1. Make sure you get a good exposure in camera. Yes, if you shoot RAW you can easily fix things, but your goal is to spend your time enhancing rather then fixing. Ideally you want to spend less then thirty seconds per image.

2. Note color casts — they will be reflections of the colors where you shoot your images. Typically when you photograph on grass you will have more green casts, when you photograph in shade the colors will look cool. To fix this adjust your temperature when you bring your image into Photoshop. Here’s the hard part even though you have your in-camera setting Photoshop and Lightroom will guesstimate what the color temperature is. Until they fix this you will want to adjust your temperature slider when you open up your images.

3. Change your images from the default on import to neutral, this will make things look a tad different, but will save you from losing your red channel when you go to process. I have done this for years and even apply this setting on import so that all my images start out in this format.

Good Luck and have fun!

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Puppies Puppies ….

I know the first tabo in blogging is to say you have been gone and resolve to get better, but well. I think that’s just the truth of it. This past year has been an adventure for me and my family. During this time I have strived to find my ‘point of view’. I tried on many hats and the only one that fit was really ‘my candid moments’. Life is really just a string of beautifuly fun messy moments all strung together. I want to share those moments with you.

One of those messy but fun life moments we recently had was that our dog, Boni, had puppies. She had ten little one’s the first part of July and our lives have been chaos ever since. I told my husband today that I can not wait for them to all have wonderful homes, but at the same time I can not imagine our lives without them either.


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