Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Present Has Arrived!

I don't think I ever mentioned my Christmas present from Dream Boy & Son #2.....it's this:
So now I have to be really serious about my photography, right?
Other than loading the software onto my computer, I have NO idea where to start....but like everything else - I'll figure it out at some point.
I'm open to ideas from any of you too.
This morning as I was reading through my blogs so many were posting of memories from this past year and hopes & dreams for the new year to come.
Dream Boy & I went shopping this morning for our dinner with friends' tonite.  He's cooking - I'm enjoying!
We were talking about some things in regards to the New Year.
1.  We want to have family dinner's with our boys & their girls at least one Sunday every month.  Whether we go out, we cook & eat in, we pack a pic-a-nic basket & head to the beach.....this is a priority for us this coming year!
2.  We are going to Florida.....for a whole week.......in SEVEN weeks!  I am stoked!  We haven't been there since my dad died in 2008.  Yeah, yeah, I go back every spring for a quick whirlwind trip with my high school seniors, but that is SO not a week on the beach.  Can.not.wait!!
(the rest of these are my thoughts for the New Year)
3.  Our bedroom, which has been painted once in 20 years and is still the ONLY white room in the house, WILL be redone this year at some point!  I know the colors I want, I know I want to either paint my head/foot board white OR make a new one like this one on Remodeling This Life.
4.  I am going to work at learning how to beef up my blog and website and make them much more user friendly & exciting!
5.  Make a point to spend more time with my sisters.  They are there for me, just as I am for them, but we don't spend enough time together other than holiday's.  This needs to change!
6.  Continue my bike riding quest I began at the end of last summer.  It's hard in the winter, but it will become something I do more of in the summer.  I really enjoy it.
I'm not making this big, huge list of "to do's/resolutions" - these are just things I know I need to attend to more this next year.  I've come to enjoy my life as it is - simple and uncomplicated.
Now I'm off to download some software & maybe take a little nap before our festivities begin!
Here's to a safe & happy ringing in of the New Year!
I hope to see and hear (I love happy thoughts on my posts)  more from all of you in 2012.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Remembering 2011........


I've spent the day going through pics from this past year.
I've compiled them into this little video.
The music has no rhyme or reason as to why I picked it, other than they are songs I like & listened to repeatedly through out this past year.
Here's to new memories & new journey's in 2012!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 Memories

Just a few memories of where these feet have been this past year........
......here's to many more memories and places in 2012!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday Morning Coffee

It's late today for coffee, but what can I say.
I have the day off and I have a bad cold and I have been go-go-go the last 2 days it seems, that I'm taking it easy this morning.
Because I can.
Did you have a wonderful day yesterday?
We did. 
1.  Dream Boy & I woke up and had coffee & donuts for breakfast.
2.  Son #2 had spent the night at Son #1's home on Christmas Eve.
3.  Both son's & a girlfriend were home and we had our Christmas together around 1pm.
4.  But not until after we had our Christmas omelets prepared by Dream Boy.
5.  We exchanged gifts - and during that time I was able to capture last wek's P::52 prompt "Joy"
6.  Dream Boy made a "kegerator" for Son #1 for his garage.  The look on his face is worth everything to us.  It's hard to surprise Son #1, but it was accomplished & the smile on his face says it all.  Son #2 in the background is just as happy (even though he's a little blurry-he moved).
7.  We then packed up and headed to my sister's house for our yearly Christmas Day gathering.
8.  With our parents both gone, we make sure that we spend this time together every year.  It's important to us.
9.  We also started the tradition when our parents were both still alive of an annual family photo.  It used to be a chore to get everyone to cooperate, but now it's just done & no one complains.
10.  We even get a little silly after we've taken a few good one's.
 11.  And this is where my photo for this week's P::52 prompt comes in....."celebrate".
...and celebrate is just what we did this whole past weekend.
Happy Boxing Day to my Canadian family & friends.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Jesus!

I'm off celebrating a King's birthday with my family & friends.
If you don't know this story, you can celebrate too......please watch!

Happy birthday to a king ---- Jesus!

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Silly Little Christmas Song....

I am officially off on Christmas break.  Our last day of school was yesterday.
I woke up with a head cold today.  
My student's love to share.
So this morning I'm enjoying sitting in my pajama's & reading my favorite blogs.
I got to "Adventures & Misadventures of Daily Living" he had this little ditty posted....
"I Farted On Santa's Lap"
I immediately thought of my dad - he always loved Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.   He would LOVE this one!
Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

From Pinterest To Reality

Are you on Pinterest?
I.am.
I have been on Pinterest since last spring.....and it seems like all of a sudden it is booming!
Anyways.....if you're not - you should be.
Anyways.....I pin & pin & pin & Dream Boy pins some more onto my boards.  I don't always know what he'll put on there, but it's usually pretty funny & it also shows how well he knows me!
Anyways.......I have grand ideas of trying this or trying that.  Once in a while I accomplish one of those grand ideas.
I don't know where I got this idea - I swore I had pinned it to my "Creatively Thinking" board, but apparently I didn't.
But I did remember how to make them.
So.I.Did.
Easy - peasy - lemon - cheesy!
All you take is a plain ornament, whichever color you choose.
Then you take a can of spray paint, any color you choose to compliment your ornament.
Take a bucket, bowl, anything you can spray paint into.  I used an empty yogurt tub.  Fill it about 3/4 of the way with water.  Spray a coat of your paint into the water.  Go ahead - it will float on the top like an oil slick.  Then take your ornament and dip it into the water, being careful not to submerge all the way.
The paint will stick to your ornament giving it a marbleized affect.  Some of my ornaments I dipped twice or swirled around a little to get a heavier affect.  You will probably have to spray the paint into the water every 2 ornaments or so.
Oh, also be ware that the paint will spray back up a little when it hits the water, so wear gloves & short sleeves.
I made a make shift clothesline over my sinks in my laundry room & hung the ornaments up there to drip & dry.
I got my ornaments at Michael's at 1/2 off - 8 for $4.00.
A quick, easy little gift for anyone you may still want to give a little something-something too!
Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I'm Not Here...

.....because I'm here today.
In Sweden.
Yes, I said, Sweden.
Elisabet invited me.....
...you're invited too.
So go here for a quick trip before the holidays.
I'm there - why don't you join me?
Go ahead, click on the link and join me in.......
......Sweden!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Time For Coffee....

Good morning!
Well it's the week OF Christmas - are you ready?
Dream Boy & I headed out bright and early (for me anyways) on Saturday morning to do our shopping.
It was a snowy, icy morning & not many cars out - or people, so we managed to do some major damage before the crowds really took over.
1. We shopped all day & then went home & took a power nap before heading out to dinner with 5 other couples.
2.  I ate enough on Saturday to feed a small 3rd world country - seriously. 
3.  I won't be doing that again.......for a very long time.
4.  Son #2 came home for the Christmas break.
5.  I had some time to get a little creative yesterday....
 6.  Son #1 and his girlfriend met us at church last night for the Christmas Candle Light Service & pageant.
7.  Dream Boy was a shepherd.
8.  Then the church was darkened and this happened....
...9.  and we sang "Silent Night".
10.  We came home for dinner and ate very late, but it was a nice dinner.
11.  I have to drive to Grand Rapids tonite to pick up my Aunt & Uncle who are flying in from Arizona.
12.  Only 3 more sleeps & I am off from school for 2 weeks!
13.  It's the 19th and I haven't even watched "White Christmas" yet!  What's up with that?
14.  Gotta go - running late and I haven't even made my lunch yet!
Happy Monday - I hope you have a great day! 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Perspective & A Christmas Tea

Last night I went to a Christmas Tea - a yearly tradition with my sisters.
Their church has a "tea" for the ladies.
Different ladies will sponsor a table and decorate it complete with candlelight.  They then invite 7 other women to join them at their table for coffee, tea and dessert.  
I had gotten there early as our power was out at home & I was bored.  So I sat in my car in the parking lot gazing at the brightly lit display of Christmas lights next door at the library.
Our prompt this past week for P::52 was 'perspective".  I've thought a lot about this word & in my mind tried to capture what shot would best show my thoughts.
The display of lights drew me closer & I pulled out my camera & new macro filters to play.  I practiced on taking shots using the bokeh affect.
Soon it was time to go into tea, so I put the camera away for a while & went inside the church.
We enjoyed coffee and red velvet cake, along with lots of fellowship & laughter.
We acted out the reading of "The Night Before Christmas".  My sisters, nieces & I were the reindeer.
"On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer & Vixen" was read & we stood up and "pranced" our way out of the fellowship hall & "to the top of the roof & the top of the wall" --- "we dashed away" upstairs!
We also sang some favorite Christmas songs & carols.  One of my favorite songs is Silent Night & on the last verse the pianist quit playing & it was a beautiful blending of women lifting their voices to God's glory as we sang.
Gives.me.chills.
 Then we had a guest speaker & as I sat & listened to her speak about how easy it is to lose our focus of the true meaning of Christmas because the secular world buries us in commercials & decorations & Santa's & baking & cooking & hustle/bustle.......I felt myself being drawn back to that manger so many, many years ago.   A lonely, scared young girl with the man she had yet to marry goes into labor with no where to go.  In a dirty stall, a barn, she gives birth to a King.  A promise for everlasting life.
This photo came to mind & my "perspective" was brought to the front of my mind.  With the activity all around us, the bright lights, it is all because of that child born in Bethlehem that we celebrate this season.
As you hustle around this next week finishing up all your shopping & touches, remember to keep things in perspective.  This is a season of joy, a season of love & family, a season to give of yourself to those who may not feel joy & love.
From me......and my sisters and my nieces...
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

An Early Present...

....to me from........me?  Although I'll let Dream Boy take credit for it if he wants.
While doing some online Christmas Shopping at Amazon I came across these...

A macro filter set.
While taking my photography class we did a session on macro shots.  I've always been intrigued by those close up shots, but the cost of a macro lens is a little out of my reach.
My teacher had a set of these - I fell in love immediately!
I started browsing around & found sets starting from $40 and up!  Then I found these - $12.
Oh.My.Goodness!
When I placed my order I saw what the shipping was going to cost - ouch!
If I ordered just $10 more in product then my shipping would be free!  The shipping was more than this filter set, so B.O.N.U.S!
They were awaiting me yesterday ----- I've been playing with the Christmas tree & bokeh & & & & &......
I'll show you some of my outtakes when I get some that I really, really like!
Oh, remember that humungo limo I told you I rode in last weekend?
Told ya so!  I had to crawl out of in on my knees!  How do the rich & famous climb in & out in their fancy, schmancy dresses & heels?
I got to toast (sparkling juice) my mother-in-law with this little lady...
....Ella!
We had a splendid dinner together....
....Miss Ella & I!
Here is the reason we were all together celebrating...
...my sister in law's 50th birthday and my mother-in-law, just because she's a mom!
This is a 4 generation shot.  
MIL-SIL-Niece & Great Niece.
Now to go play with my new Christmas present.......or maybe I'll go eat the beef stroganoff that's in the crock pot making my mouth water, along with the fresh loaf of bread cooling on the cutting board next to it.  Not sure if I can wait for Dream Boy to get home........
Toodles!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Coffee Time

Good Monday Morning!
Sorry - the pic is a little dark & grainy, but it's not even 7am & it's still dark out & I wanted the lights on my tree to show up.
Would it be better if I didn't add a pic?
Honestly - I loved picture books much more when I was little, it makes it more fun to read!
Okay, okay......let's see:
1.  It was a cold weekend, but a beautiful one.  The sun shone for most of it making the little bit of snow we had sparkle!
2.  Dream Boy & I went out to dinner Friday night with a gift certificate that he got for his birthday.  
3.  Then we went grocery shopping.  Romantic, I know!
4.  Saturday I spent most of the day in my creative corner beading bracelets & working on my December Daily, printing pics.
5.  Saturday evening I rode in a humungous limo!  
6.  I went out to dinner with some ladies to celebrate my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law's birthday.
7.  I sat next to my 3 year old great niece & had a splendid time!
8.  Dream Boy & I lit the Advent Candle at church yesterday - he tried to catch my bulletin on fire as I read from it.
9.  Son #1 came home for dinner last night - love that!
10.  Son #2 has been asked by his college to be a "senior witness" at chapel on February 3.  I'm humbled.
11.  Last full week of school and then 4 days next week & I'm off for 2 whole weeks for Christmas vacation!
Gotta go - bell's will be ringing soon in the hallowed halls of my high school.
Happy Monday!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree.....

We gave up the tradition a few years ago of going out into the cold and tracking through the mud and/or snow to find that perfect tree.
In fact, I think the last few years we bought a real tree, we would go out into the field and search & search, only to end up back up at the front & pick a tree from the pre-cut trees.
We fell in love with the Frasier Fir tree in those last few years and it was so hard to go with any other type of tree.  They are a soft, short needle tree with an amazing aroma.  They don't drop needles - literally, they just don't!  Well, the Frasier Fir became the most popular type of tree in our area and the prices of them went up astronomically!  You would pay upwards of $45 or more.
Our tradition also included the boy's going out with me, but as they got older, they lost interest in the yearly family tradition.
So Dream Boy & I talked about an artificial tree.
Stop me now if you've heard this story......
....or just read it again.
I aim to please.
One morning Dream Boy had been out in the woods doing something with his deer blinds with his buddy.  He had his "talk radio" on as usual and people were calling in to sell things.  A woman called in to say she had an artificial tree for sale.  I was $75.  Dream Boy called me to see if I was serious about an artificial tree & I said go for it.
So he did.
Then he came home with this humungous box with the receipt still tape to it.  It was dated 1972 or something like that.
We opened the box (he had done this when he picked it up) and I was so impressed at what was inside.  After all, when I saw 1972 on the receipt, visions of silver tree or a skinny, scrawny, not very pretty tree came to my mind.
But it wasn't.  It was beautiful - the more we put together, the more it became a reality to us that this tree was a beauty!
I love my tree.
We used to do all white twinkle lights on it as that was how the boys' liked it.  But a few years' ago we went to replace our lights and came across the new LED lights that are reminiscent of my childhood.  Remember the big colored bulbs?  They could get so hot, you couldn't touch them.  It was a miracle we never had a fire!  So we replaced the white twinkle lights with our new old fashioned colored lights.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

P::52 Anticipation

Anticipation.
K - the first thing that comes to mind is the Carly Simon song.
Seriously.
But then I think of the holiday season and all the little ones anxious for Santa.
Tonight I had the privilege to take the Santa Pics again at our local Winter Wonderland celebration.
Oodles and oodles of little ones came in with their parents waiting to sit on Santa's lap.  
There were little one's like this..
..reaching for mom!  PLEASE don't leave me mommy!
Then there are those who are still young at heart and still believe...
There are little girl's who know exactly what they want and are in deep conversation with Santa.
.....and then there are those little one's who are standing outside waiting in anticipation, checking out the scene before coming inside to see Santa.
Anticipation of all the hopes and dreams of what Christmas morning may bring.
Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

P::52 Real

Last week's, or actually 2 weeks ago, our P::52 assignment was "real".
With the Christmas season upon us, many ideas came to mind.  
We gave up a real tree a few years back and went to an artificial.  I really like it and not having to clean up the mess of a real tree once we take it down.
But then came Tuesday night and the rain we were getting all day turned over to snow.  A heavy, wet, frozen, slushy snow.
I grabbed my camera & went outside to experiment.
The trees were sagging low with the weight of the snow, but it looked so pretty.  It was so peaceful.
So I went under our Maple Tree in the front yard and started looking through the branches at the house.
I captured this picture.  
Our 1st "real" snow fall of the season.  A snow that would close down many schools, mine included, the next day.  A snow that would be so heavy on power lines that many were left without power the next day.
A beautiful 1st snow and a little Bokeh in the background.
Then I thought about the REAL reason for Christmas.  The birth of a baby boy in a manger, a rough barn, on a cold, winter night.  All alone, no doctor, no sterile environment - just a mom & a dad facing the birth of this child who become the King of Kings.
As I gaze upon the lights of so many houses and see the festive decor on the city streets I remind myself of the Real reason of this season.  The reason that I am saved, the reason that I am able to face trials & tribulations and the reason I can rejoice in the good!
As you go through the hustle & bustle of these days, take time to reflect on the true meaning of this season.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Morning!

Wow - December 5th already.
I'm running a little late today, so let's get started, shall we?
1.  I decided this year not to do a December Daily on my blog, but instead I'm doing it in a book.  
2.  The book is laying on the counter in my creative corner, with a list next to it.  
3.  I haven't been able to record anything in the book yet, that's why there's a list.
4.  My weekend was full of emotion - good & bad.
5.  My MIL went into the hospital Saturday night = it started out bad.
6.  But then it got better.  She's still there, but they are testing to see what actually is the issue.
7.  Sunday was Son #2's end of the year soccer banquet.
8.  Oh my - full of emotion!  This was the best year ever with this team.  Not only the players, but the parents bonded so well.
9.  Myself and my Co-team photographer were surprised by all the parents and literally showered with cards & gifts.
10.  I opened them last night when I got home & read the cards & cried even more.
11.  Needless to say, I was deeply moved.
12.  Santa comes to town this Wednesday night & I get to take pictures of the little ones on Santa's lap!
13.  We had a snow day last week!  
14.  Our tree is waiting to be put up, never got around to it on Saturday as plans were quickly set aside to tend to MIL.
15.  I hope all of you have a wonderful week and take time to reflect on the true meaning of this Christmas season, the birth of our Lord & Savior.
I'll be back sooner, rather than later.
Happy Monday!