Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Books I Read

I have a new blogging/photography friend.
Actually I have a few.
I know - my little blog & I have followers!
They actually leave comments.
They make me happy.
Anyways, Holly, my new blogging/photography friend left me a little note after Monday Morning Coffee.
She wants to know what kind of books I read.
So Holly - here ya go..
This is currently what I'm working through.
I collect books - is that a sickness?
But I do read them, especially in the summer!
I'm not sure I could ever go with a Kindle - I love the feel of a book in my hands.
But yet, the ease of a Kindle when traveling might be nice too.
I'm working, ever so slowly, through "Mennonite In A Little Black Dress".
It's written by a professor at my son's college.  It's her memoir - kinda quirky &  capturing me enough to not just put it down completely.
"Fly Away Home" is what I'm actively reading though.  I actually started it at the end of last summer, but then College Soccer Season started & life was too crazy!
I'm getting back into the groove of reading again now.
The bottom 3 books are one's I plan on taking on vacation with me next month & reading on the beach.
Love that plan.
Dream Boy has another one that I've been waiting for our vacation to read that one too.  The title is "The Art of Racing In The Rain".
He must have loaned it out because I can't find it right now.
Because my head is overloaded at school by the end of the day with tracking earned credits, who's on track for graduation, who needs to make up a class, who's skipping class, who's absent due to illness and on & on & on.....I don't like to read real heavy shtuff.  
Yes, I said shtuff - it's a real word.
Believe me, k?
I have some classic favorites though too that I will read over & over again.
Like "Angela's Ashes" & "Tis" by Frank McCourt.
True story - his life - growing up in Ireland - dire living - his coming to America.
Loved these books.
There are others - but I'll save that for another post someday.
What about you, what do you like to read?
Hmmm Holly?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday - Monday. Da-da-da-di-da-da....

Do you have the Mama's & The Papa's stuck in your head now?
Good morning!
How was your weekend?
Mine - it was fine.  :)
1.  I had the day off Friday.
2. I got to spend quality time in my Creative Corner!
3.  I completed one project & started to finish a 2nd.
4.  I thought I was coming down with a bad head cold on Friday, but I took some major drugs & I've managed so far to keep it at bay!
5.  Saturday Dream Boy & I putzed around.  We can do that now that we're empty nesters.
6.  Saturday evening we made reservations at Zazios - a fancy, schmancy Italian restaurant downtown.
7.  We used our gift card that Son #1 gave us for Christmas & they had an extra special deal meal that night.
8.  It was fabulous!
9.  Sunday morning I ended up in urgent care rather than church.
10.  Nothing major, just a rather annoying infection that I knew if I waited to see my own doc today it would only make me feel worse.
11.  I've been on antibiotics for almost 24 hours now & it's much better, thank you very much.
12.  Sunday was also spent reading, lazing around, watching movies.
13.  We had a roasted chicken & roasted vegetables last night - including balsamic glazed brussel sprouts - yummmmmmm.
14.  Back to school today.
15.  Son #2 is going to be a senior witness at chapel this Friday so Dream Boy & I are taking the day off.
16.  They only ask about 7 or 8 of the graduating seniors to do this.
17.  Have I told you lately how proud I am of the men in my life?
18.  God has blessed me richly.
Gotta go  --- school will be starting soon!
Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Scavenger Hunt

I won't lie, I struggled this week with a few of our prompts.
But I was determined NOT to pull from my archives.
Here are my interpretations for SHS:

Libbi the Wonder Dog is never more happy & full of smiles than when she can be outside playing with her soccer ball.

Stand Alone
 Every morning before the bell rings, I cherish those 15 minutes where I stand alone in my classroom prepping for the day.

Rusty/Something Old
 This shot covers both prompts.  This was a hand plow used by my grandpa years & years ago in his garden.  I don't know exactly how old this is, but I know it's over 30 years since my grandpa lived in his house.

Yes, artificial sunlight!  In Michigan we don't see a whole lot of the sun in the winter and sometimes I just need that artificial boost.  Oh, & I'm getting ready for my trip to the Florida shores soon!

Repeating Pattern
Outside my classroom is the repeating row of lockers.

Want to see more interpretations of Scavenger Hunt Sunday?
Click on this prompt

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I Got Mail!

So excited!
Yesterday was a day off from school & I spent it in my creative corner.
I can't show you the whole project because it's a surprise for my Valentine Craft Swap Partner in California, Lizette.
This is part of my swap gift for her.
I took a break to take Libbi The Wonder Dog out to play.
While she was chasing squirrels, I grabbed the mail.
It was a beautiful sunny day and I was so excited to get these:
Oh yeah, that's what I'm talking about!
But wait!  There was another package in the mail.
I promised myself i would NOT open it until I had my swap gift completed...or at least  almost completed.
So I waited until this morning to open my surprise package from Lizette.
I LOVE it!

Thank you so much Lizette!
I have had so much fun working on your little swap gift & I promise you it will be in the mail very soon!
Just waiting for some glue & paint to dry.
Now - Dream Boy & I are off to the 50% off sale at Goodwill.  
Time for some thrifting!

Friday, January 27, 2012

I'm Elmo & I Know It....

This has absolutely nothing to do with anything......but I saw this link today on FB & watched it.
It made me laugh out loud!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

P::52 Community

I carried my camera pretty much everywhere with me this past week.
I had visions of this great photo that would represent "community".
My visions just didn't become reality.
On Wednesday we had a wedding shower for a fellow teacher.  She has been waiting a long time for her boyfriend to propose.  Last spring he finally did.  They are having a "destination wedding" in Jamaica in March.
So we, the staff, wanted to celebrate with her.  Since we won't be attending the wedding because we can't go because they won't give us the week off, we decided a luncheon in her honor would have to suffice.
I took several shots of everyone sitting around visiting and eating and talking....but they just didn't speak to me.
As I was going through the shots, this one popped out!
The look on Ms. K's face as she opens her gifts just speaks volumes of the "community" that we have within our building.
The community that when one of us hurts or one of is joyous or one of us is frustrated or one of us is celebrating, we all come together to help the one.
I love my job & the people I work with.  We may not all agree on everything, but when the chips are down, they will rally around the one in need.
It's a special community bond.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I'm Learning

Thanks to videos on You Tube & a techie cousin (thanks Melissa), bit by bit, I'm grasping Photoshop Elements.
While I'm still uber new at it & have a WHOLE lot more to learn, I'm still learning!
Look at my blog title ---- I did that!
It's just a beginning, but I DID THAT!
I'm so excited!
I don't know how many of you are users of the free Picnik photo editing online site, but they are shutting.down.
NOT happy about that.
I was shocked when I got the email earlier this week & bummed.  It was like out of nowhere!
The only good thing about it is that they are refunding my FULL premium fee.
But with this news it has forced me to search more & more & really learn more & more about PE10.
After all, Dream Boy & Son #2 bought it for me for a reason, I need to learn it.
---and I am, bit by bit, step by step, more & more.
I'm learning.
You're never too old to learn are you?

Monday, January 23, 2012

GooooooOOOOOOOOoooooood Monday Morning!
Sorry - but it is!
Don't you hate morning people?
I don't, I embrace them.
1.  Technically, I'm not a "morning person", meaning I don't rise with the sun unless the alarm goes off.
2.  But I am usually pretty chipper once I'm up!  Ask any of the other chaperones who have traveled with me to Florida on our annual senior class trip!
3.  I might be known for jumping on their beds if they don't get up.  :)
4.  I have a "short" week this week.  A full day of school today, followed by 3 half days due to exams & then Friday off.
5.  Maybe that explains my mood?
6.  Or the fact that I'll soon be lounging on the beach in Florida with my Dream Boy.
7.  Or that we bought a new stainless steal dishwasher this weekend due to the old one dying & we got this one in the scratch & dent aisle & there isn't one anywhere to be found on it!
8.  Or I'm just in a good mood today - I'm "embracing" my day.
9.  Okay - okay, I'll stop now.  
10.  How was your weekend?  Our's started out with another snow storm Friday night, subzero temps on Saturday but it's supposed to hit near 40 today with rain.  
11.  Lovely.
12.  Where are the harsh winters of when I was little?  Piles & piles of snow.  Miss those winters, really - I do.
13.  I really, really need to go or I'm going to be late for school.
Hope your Monday is fantabulous!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

First off, I want to thank my Dream Boy for jumping in the car with me at the last minute.....literally.....last night to capture a sunset.
It's January.
It's Michigan.
We don't see much sun here this time of year.
As for the other prompts, I tried to be a little creative, not jumping to the "norm"  or the obvious.
Here are this week's interpretations:

What a welcome sight after a week of clouds, snow and rain.

Black & White
I had to play around with my PE10 - playing with a new technique i learned here.

A Day In My Life
Thankfully this isn't every day - but it does happen!

My favorite Four feet.  Yes, this is how she sits----such a lady.

On one of our rare sunny days this winter - last Sunday morning to be exact - Dream Boy happened to look up our hill at the towering pine tree & saw this beautiful Cardinal with the sun shining on it.
It's beautiful red was so bright against the dark green pine tree.

So there you have it.
Want to see more?  Head on over to Ramblings and Photos.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

P::52 Shine

When this prompt came up last week my 1st thought was "how is that gonna happen?"  We were bracing for a major winter storm Thursday night that could possibly dump up to 12 inches of snow on us before it was over!
January is not known as a "sunshine" month in Michigan & with pending storms in the forecast followed by a rainy forecast, it was very unlikely I would see any sunshine for a long time.
So I kept my camera with me pretty much 24/7 in hopes that maybe a "shiny" object might appear or inspiration for this prompt might appear out of no where.
On Saturday Dream Boy & I were out & about doing this and that.
One of our adventures was to go shopping for wine.  We headed into World Market, one of our favorite stores.
After milling around & filling our basket with fresh coffee beans and a few bottles of the vino we started to meander to the front of the store.
I always love to wander through the aisled of glassware.  You never know what unique & intriguing things will pop up.
As I turned the corner to go down an aisle of glasses, the sun began to shine through the front windows of the store and the rays reached this row of glassware:
The glasses just sparkled!
Thankfully I had my camera stashed in my purse & I pulled it out quickly.  Dream Boy just gave a little laugh & went on his merry way while I clicked a few.
Then another person came around the corner & the look on his face when he saw me taking pictures of glasses was enough to tell me he thought I was more than a little strange.
My motto...or actually my "one little word" for this year:
So I continued to "embrace" my camera & take a few more shots & I embraced the fact that I really didn't care what Mr. Man thought of me --- I was having fun!
Next week's prompt:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'm Trying...

I'm trying.  I've started it before, but never finished it.
Last year I started and completed a P::52 project and I'm doing it again this year.
I've started a 365 Project---again---let's see how far I can make it this year.
So far I've just taken the approach of not over thinking it.
I've managed to get a shot every day through yesterday.
Some shots I've put thought into and tried some new techniques.  Some are just SOOC and that's okay.
The point is, I drag my camera literally everywhere I go -- I need to learn to take it out & use it.  To just shoot, maybe try to expand my process, my skills or just take a shot of what that day is about.
There's no rhyme or reason - it's all about making the effort & just trying!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday Morning Coffee

Good morning!
This pic from our snow day last Friday.  Me & Libbi the Wonder Dog went out & played some snow soccer.
1.  I have the day off again today because the "real" teacher's have professional development.
2.  The sun is shining this morning.
3.  It's 24 degrees outside which I think is warmer than it got all day yesterday!
4.  We're having a heat wave~~~a tropical heat wave.
5.  Dream Boy & I had a very nice, relaxing weekend.
6.  We went dishwasher shopping.  Fun, no?
7.  We went wine shopping.  Fun, yes?
8.  We went grocery shopping.  I know - hold yourselves back, the excitement is almost too much for you, isn't it?
9.  Seriously, it was a very nice weekend.  Just being together was so sweet.  I love how after 33 years of dating & marriage we still have fun together.
10.  I have a new crafty friend in California.  Her name is Lizette and she's my Valentine Craft Swap Partner.
11.  We hooked up over here.  I stumbled upon this blog a week or so ago & decided to play along with their Valentine Craft Swap!
12.  I ordered new sunglasses for my upcoming trip to Florida:
13.  Love, no?
14.  I have a 4 day school week & then next week is 1 full day, 3 half days & 1 day off.
15.  Mama's gonna get some craft on!  
Hope you have a happy Monday.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

  Week 2 of Scavenger Hunt has come and gone.  I was able to capture each prompt without having to search through my archives.  When I saw "winter wonderland" as one of them on the list last week I was a little concerned since it was in the upper 50s the 1st part of the week.  Not normal temps for Michigan this time of year.  But Mother Nature did not fail & we were hit with a major storm on Thursday night and through out the day Friday.
Without further ado....here are my interpretations for this week's hunt:

Stacked Up
Freshly cut and freshly stacked fire wood.

Winter Wonderland

These beauties graced my table all last week.

 I talked a few of my students into helping me on this one!

This was the frozen mass of snow left over from the week before.

Want to see more interpretations?
Head on over to 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Snow Day

At 5:08 this morning I got the robo-call, or rather Dream Boy did.
No school due to adverse weather conditions.
Ten minutes later my principal called me and told me the same thing.
So I drifted back into my dream land for a few hours.
A winter storm warning had been issued yesterday and we were likely to see 3-6 inches of white stuff on our edge of the storm, but the further west you head (towards the lakeshore) the worse it gets.
After some coffee and blog reading Miss Libbi The Wonder Dog and I headed outside with camera, tri-pod and soccer ball.
I took lots of pics and have spent the afternoon playing with my Photoshop.  I've been watching tutorials and just clicking at this & that trying to get a grip on this program.  I've learned, like with anything else technology related, that I just have to dive in & click away.  Somewhere there is usually an "undo" button to undo what you just did.  Also, it helps to play on a copy too.
Here is one of my favorite outcomes of my clicking away...
BEFORE editing:
 AFTER editing:
I'm in love - truly in love with the after!
Oh the possibilities!  I'm so excited to learn even more.  I am actually going to get private lessons from one of our teachers who teaches this stuff at school sometime this next week.
I guess it's the little things, but oh they amount to such BIG happiness!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

P::52 New

Well, it's a new year and a new round of P52 Photos has started.
Our prompt for this past week was "new".
My 1st thought was this shot:
A "new" full family photo.
We're starting a "new" tradition this year.
Once a month we are having a family dinner.  The boys' have agreed that they will come home one weekend night a month and if the girls are around, they will come too.
So our 1st family dinner was this past Saturday night.  We feasted on shish-ka-bobs and rice and finished the night off with brownies and mud slides! 
We have family pics with just girlfriend #1 and family pics with girlfriend #2, but none with both of them in the same picture.  
So we remedied this with the shot above.
Even Libbi the Wonder Dog made sure she was in the shot.
Then I decided I needed to take it a little further and try to stretch my imagination and photography with a different concept.
If you follow me you know that I got an early Christmas present for myself.  So I have been playing with them off and on.  I got out my +4 filter today and some frozen peas.  I don't know why I chose peas, but I did.
So here's my interpretation of this weeks P::52 prompt "new" taken with my "new" macro filters:
This makes me happy.
Now to start thinking of shots for next week's prompt-----"Shine".
With the winter storm we're getting right now, I don't think my pick will have anything to do with sun"shine"!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Frustration Makes Creations

Remember the other day when I was "beyond frustrated"?  I was venting to all of you about how frustrated I am with my new Christmas present::Photoshop Elements 10.  I just haven't had the patience to work through it.  But I think I have found a personal trainer!  Ha-Ha!  I have a techie teacher/friend at school who has agreed to give me some lessons after school sometime this week or next.
But in the meantime, I'm taking my frustration out with beads & jute.
 My boy's girls loved them...
Do you?
I'm thinking of making them to sell.
Leave me a happy thought or email me at mamagdog@aol.com.
I'll make them to order, but know that colors & buttons will vary.
A double wrap is $12, a triple wrap as shown above is $15.
I have lots of colors.
I have lots of frustration to work through.
Thanks for listening to my earlier frustrations!
It helped.
It helped me focus my creativity in a different direction.
Thanks, I really needed that!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Morning Coffee

Good EARLY Monday morning.
Yes - early!
After having 2 weeks off, it was really hard getting up with the alarm clock today.  Maybe that's why I look a little sleepy in my pic?
1.  I'm having a brownie for breakfast today.  Breakfast of champions!
2.  In six weeks I'll be laying on the beach - can.not.wait!
3.  We have 2 weeks left of school in this semester.
4.  That means I have to become mean Mrs. G to some of my students who have been slacking and are possibly not going to pass.
5.  Is it wrong that I'm already counting the hours til I get home from school & can take a nap?
6.  Happy note - the boys & their girls were home Saturday night for dinner.
7.  This is a new tradition we are starting.  We all agreed that we would have a family dinner once a month.
8.  They even stayed & watched a movie with us!
9.  Son #2 starts his grown up job today.  Pray for him.
10.  Son #1 is going back to school this semester!  Pray for him.
11.  Mama G has to leave now, I have to go back to school too.
Happy Monday y'all!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

Something new this year.
I followed this throughout most of 2011 & decided to give it a shot this year.
Scavenger Hunt Sunday.
Over on Ramblings and Photos every Sunday, Ashley will post her 5 interpretations of the week & a new list for the next.
Here's mine for this past week:

One Color
On Sunday, 1/1/12, we had our 1st snowstorm of the season.  Near white out conditions were prevalent through most of the night.

There was a day that I did laundry pretty much every day of the week, but now that we are empty nesters it's once or twice a week.
Saturday was wash all the bedding day:
I know - exciting, right?

I like to have chocolate around when I'm crafting in my Creative Corner.  It makes my heart a little sad when the box is empty.

One Dozen
Dinner with the family last night.  The boys' came home along with their girls, for family dinner.  It's a tradition we are starting - that they come home one night a month and we have a family dinner.
Last night we grilled shish-ka-bobs.  This is one dozen steak-ka-bobs.......that went along with the shrimp-ka-bobs & the chicken-ka-bobs.

Libbi the Wonder Dog.  
She's a labrador retriever.  Normally when they grow out of their puppy stage their coats become more wiry and course.  Libbi's has remained as soft as it was when she was a puppy.  One of my favorite spots on her is her nose - especially when she nuzzles up to me for a kiss-kiss.

If you want to play along, here is the link back to Ashley's blog!


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Beyond Frustrated....

Everyone talks about how great this is..
but can I tell you how frustrated I am with it right now?
I'm sure it's a great tool once you figure it out, but figuring it out is overwhelming to say the least.  At least for me.  I can usually figure out "techie" things, but this one is so complicated....
I have found some great tutorials on YouTube - I've been successful with those in figuring some things out.  
But yesterday I found a tutorial on Ali Edwards on how to put 2 pics on one 4x6 photo for printing purposes!  I wrote it down step by step. Her tutorial was so clear and it made it seem so easy.   I've gone back to it numerous times but when I follow the steps on my PE10 it isn't the same!!!!!! What am I missing, besides brain cells at this point?  Ugh!
So - I am once again shutting down the PE10 & making bracelets.  
THOSE I know how to make.
Part of it is my learning curve - I want to know how to do it and I want to know it NOW!  I don't want to have to sit through video after video to figure things out, just do it now!  I'll figure it out at some point...... probably later rather than sooner, but I will.
I could take a class from my photography teacher but I'd rather go to Florida next month than pay $240 for a 12 week class.  Selfish?  No - just a much needed vacay with the Dream Boy!
So, I'm going to go make bracelets and then maybe I'll try my luck at PE10 again.......later!
How are you spending your Saturday?
Oh - did I mention all the chillens' are coming home for din din tonite?  We're having shish-ka-bobs.  

Thursday, January 5, 2012

This is what I did yesterday with 2 of my dear friends' from school...
 Remember - I told you Mama G Flat was going to make regular appearances this year?  Well, it's begun...
We ate lunch together & then we sat back in front of the fire place & watched Bridesmaids.  Educational TV - now that's what I'm talking about!
Today I spent 30 minutes on the tredmill and then 2 hours balancing the checkbook.  No - it wasn't that bad, I was.  I haven't done it in like 6 months.  That is a goal of mine this year - to stay more on track with that.  It wasn't out of whack too bad at all, it just needed to be done!
Now that my brain is toast & my hands are "Comet Clean" due to scrubbing the bathtub & toilet & bathroom counter, I am going to tackle this...
My December Daily.  I'm on Day 20 or something like that, so not much more to do.  I am in the mode & want to get it done though.  My brain is whirling with many other ideas & projects & I've promised myself that they won't get started until this one is finished.
There's a "to do" list pinned up there under the big red L on the right side of those other ideas.....& I have more to add.
So for now, I'm going to pop in "27 Dresses" and get my craft on!  
Right after I catch up on my blog reading......

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Creative Corner

One of the things I'm thinking through and trying to work on is spending more time in my Creative Corner.  After all, Dream Boy & My 2 Sons built it for me as a Christmas gift a few years back & I must take advantage of this gift, right?
I, at one time, was an avid scrapbooker.......I still do it from time to time, but I'm more into making my own books and the photography side of it now.  My creativity seems to flow better when I create from scratch rather than in a pre-made book of sorts.  I have oodles & oodles of pictures to scrap & I will work on them from time to time, but I still end up going back to my own creations.
I look at my top shelf in my Creative Corner & love the row of hand made creations.....Circle Journals, Travel Journals, Picture Boxes....oh....and my version of Flat Stanley!
Well, Flat Stanley,   er, Mama G Flat, will find a new purpose this year.  My mind is spinning with ideas as I write this post!
As I look around me I see projects half done - projects in the process and projects not even yet begun.
Last year I read somewhere, pardon me for not being able to remember where, this idea for a "time capsule" of sorts.
I took a small jar, inserted a family photo & throughout the year dropped little mementos in it.
Today I pulled that small jar from my shelf..
....and had a look inside.
Most of it was ticket stubs from movies & soccer games, but it defined a lot of what I enjoyed this past year.
These will be put into a book of sorts, but for now will remain in my 2011 Jar of Memories.  I will make a new Memory Jar for 2012.
I have spent the last few days in my Creative Corner trying to decipher my new Adobe Photoshop Elements.  It can be SO overwhelming!  But I did find a great series of tutorials on YouTube that are helping greatly.
One thing I did accomplish in my Corner is this:
 A re-usable calendar.  The price of calendars is seriously extreme!  So I was looking around my Creative Corner & saw this 11x14 poster frame still in it's original packaging.  I believe this is from the massive collection I inherited 3 years ago when my dad died.  So I came up with this concept!  I made my own calendar template and matted it, complete with a few embellishments & framed it in.  I used dry erase markers for the month & can wipe it off each month & start anew!  If I tire of the of the matting behind it I can always switch it out!  Easy peasy!
In my reflections I have jotted down several ideas and things on my "to do" list.  As the days pass, I will sort through this list & prioritize it as to how & when I want to accomplish the items on it.  Some are at the top of my list to do now & others can be worked on as I want.
I just know that I want to use the gift of creativity that God has so graciously blessed me with.  I want to use it much more in 2012 and see where it takes me.
I hope you enjoy this journey with me!