Thursday, May 31, 2007
I got an alert today that I (more specifically, my blog) was mentioned somewhere on the web. I followed the link to find that I am listed in someone's top 10 favorite blogs (Penguin's Igloo: Life's Little Notebook-The Scribbles).
I am not at all familiar with Window LiveSpaces (like, never even been on it before today) and wanted to leave a thank you to the author in their comments or by emailing them, but couldn't find any way to do so (without signing up for a hotmail account or something and as I'm sure you can all relate, I don't need another email account through which I get primarily junk mail!).
Anyway, so I am hoping that the author will come back here (since I am in their TOP 10, after all) and see this big THANK YOU for the mention and this PS - if you dream of living on a ranch and love horses, you definitely need to check out this blog. I think it just might make your top 10...as long as it doesn't knock me out, that is! :-)
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
This is her teacher, Travis. Don't they all look so trusting as he leads them into the water? I think Kaitlin has a new crush!
He started out slow...a little leg kicking along the side of the pool.
Then things got a little more serious...blowing bubbles...maybe...I'm not sure she actually did it.
But doesn't she just look smashing in her turquoise swimming ensemble?
I can just hear her..."For you, Travis, I'll jump anywhere!"
A little more kicking...
Then, some "Red Light, Green Light." Hey, I don't remember swimming lessons being this much fun! I just remember the shock of a freezing cold outdoor pool when I hardly had the chance to rub the sleep out of my eyes after rolling out of bed in the early morning!
"That was fun, Mom! Do we get to come again the next day (aka - tomorrow)?"
"No, honey. You don't have lessons again until Thursday night."
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Sunday, May 27, 2007
- 10 things I learned in school that were NOT in the curriculum
- 10 of my very worst ideas
- 10 of my absolute worst pet peeves
- 10 people who are alive today I would love to meet
- 10 biggest fears
- 10 things I would do if I won the lottery
- 10 countries I would love to visit
- 10 favorite quotes
- 10 favorite scents or smells
- 10 things I expect in a good friend
Your challenge...choose one...journal it...scrap it
journal them all today...save the inspiration for another day!
And feel free to share your responses to any or all in a comment box here or link us to your list!
10 favorite scents or smells:
- Bath & Body Works - Warm Vanilla Sugar
- Fresh Cut Alfalfa
- The Air After a Spring Rain
- Yankee Candles - Clean Cotton
- Cedar Chips
- Warm Apple Pie
- My Not-So-Baby Girl (after her bath, of course!)
- Spiced Cappuccino
- Cinnamon Rolls
Thursday, May 24, 2007
A Review of The KODAK Book of Scrapbooking Photos of Your Children: Easy & Fun Techniques for Beautiful Scrapbook Pages
Here’s expert advice on the subject that inspires more scrapbooks than any other: kids. From creative ways to embellish layouts to enlightening advice on journaling, this collection offers more than 100 fantastic pages designed by today’s top scrapbooking creators. Explore fresh ideas for commemorating everything from playgroup fun to sporting events. Learn how to use color and texture, get tips on incorporating memorabilia such as artwork and report cards. Plus, Kodak provides insights on snapping pictures
I have been curious for awhile what these Kodak books would be like, so I broke down and ordered one. I have to say that I was a little disappointed by this one...I was sure to purchase one of their most recent publications (January of 2007), but still the products and the layouts themselves seemed a little dated. Another thing that I didn't care for is that there were no product listings (maybe because they were so dated), but when I did find a paper or something I liked, I had no way to tell what it was...kind of a bummer.
2 1/2 STARS
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Do you see my little munchkin? Yup, she's the one in the purple dress, waving at you! In case you didn't notice, she's also about a head shorter than every other kid in her class...this picture doesn't show her whole class, but believe me, she is!
The program was really cute (and not too long, which was an added bonus)! Each of the three preschool classes got up to sing a song. The song that Kaitlin's class sang was "Father Abraham." It was the cutest thing EVER!! If you are patient, watch the click below. I apologize in advance for the breaks in the video. I was using the movie mode on my camera. I haven't used it much and didn't realize this would happen if I took pictures at the same time...I know it's a little annoying, but I think the cuteness factor of the kids makes up for it. (For the record, I won't be taking pictures while taking video anymore!)
Got just a little teary-eyed on that one!!
After that, they each were called up to receive their certificate...Kaitlin looked so proud...and we are certainly very proud of her!
Monday, May 21, 2007
On the contrary, I really liked the show...although I'm not sure I can wait four months to find out just who will be back next season and what they are going to do with them. Lots of changes it looks like.
Anyway, what I really wanted to post on was the song played during the final scenes of the show - "Keep Breathing" by Ingrid Michaelson. I LOVED that song and of course, had to try to find out what it was. I found out what it was and who it was by, but no luck in downloading it...it doesn't seem to be available yet.
However, Ingrid does have it on her player and you can listen to it here just like 84,114 other people have done since it was posted late Thursday night (at the time of this post). It is just such a beautifully haunting song...enjoy!
UPDATE: Found a neat little mp3 widget...now you can listen to the song right here!
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Don't click on 'Read more...' on this one...this is all there is to see on this one...
This has certainly got to be one of the most unique websites I've ever come across and is just simply a lot of fun.
It can also be extremely useful. Have you ever wanted to convey a particular emotion through a layout and not known quite what color to use? This website can help with that and much more.
It's called Color in Motion...
Your challenge today? Sit back with your Sunday morning coffee (or other drink of pleasure) and enjoy. Play. Be color inspired.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
One of the first things we found out upon arrival were that the tulips were gone...well, mostly...due to some of the bad weather they had had recently. There were a few patches here and there that had survived, but even those were looking pretty weather-worn.
Honestly, I have to admit that this bummed me out quite a bit. My dreams of idyllic photos of Kaitlin frolicking amongst the tulips were dashed, but despite this, we still all had a great time at the tulip festival.
When we arrived, we went on a horse drawn trolley ride around town by which we were shown where some of the main highlights or things to see were located. After that, we went for a walk and checked out a few of the shops selling souvenirs and such. We stop in the Little White Store and tried some poffertjes, a Dutch pastry...mmmmmm! By that time, it was time to find a seat for the next event.
One of the highlights of the day was definitely the Staatfest, Street Scrubbing, and the Volksparade. The Staatfest started at about 1 p.m. with a fashion show of sorts of authentic costumes from each of the Dutch provinces as well as dancers of all ages performing traditional Dutch dances. After this (and before the parade) all the costumed townsfolk come out to clean the streets. The men and boys throw water down on the streets (and sometimes elsewhere, which made it fun to watch) and then the women and girls come in mass behind them with brooms. It was quite a sight to see.
I can also say that I don't think I've ever been to a parade with such beautiful floats and so many bands. It was wonderful! The combination of those three events lasted about 2 1/2 hours, but Kaitlin was enthralled the whole time...I think it was Grandma Sue who was getting antsy (it was a long time to sit, I must admit). After the parade, we went through the Straatmarket and we all shared an almond bar (a Dutch treat) as we sat on the lawn outside the courthouse and listened to Brule for a while. It's always fun to watch them.
Then we watched a traditional 'poppencast' (puppet show), sat in the park for a while while Kaitlin enjoyed the playground and, of course, we couldn't leave without Kaitlin getting in a few carnival rides.
It was such fun to experience the day through Kaitlin's eyes...we must do more of this type of thing. I took about 300 photos over the course (yes, even without the tulips!!), but I have narrowed them down (a little) so if you would like to see some great photos from our fun-filled day, click on view all images below.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
I have been there only once before. My older brother was once the Prince of Czech Days (our hometown celebration) and because of that, we had to travel to several of the area celebrations that year so that he could ride the float in the parades.
I don't think that I remember it personally. What I vaguely remember is one faded picture my mom probably has in a box somewhere of me (I think...maybe it was my brother) standing in the street on a rainy day with a giant Big Bird and she must have told me that it was at the Tulip Festival in IA.
It was a rainy day back then, but tomorrow is forcasted to be beautiful - mid-80's and sunny - and I am certainly hoping for some stellar photo opps among all those tulips. I hope to be sharing those with you soon.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
I'm not quite sure what to think of it.
Sure, everyone knows Rachael Ray and Emeril Lagasse, but I'm actually beginning to recognize the names and faces Giada de Laurentiis, Cat Cora, Jill Cordes, Robin Miller, Peter Marr...and believe you me, I am no chef! In fact, my husband says that I can boil things pretty well. This is somewhat of an exaggeration, but not much...I actually prefer foods that require no boiling at all!
The other night my parents came over and to show them how truly serious this was, I changed channel to the Food Network...Iron Chef was just starting. I offered to turn it to cartoons.
"No, I want to watch this," she said and proceeded to plop herself down in the middle of the living room floor and stare at the TV. Mind you, there is not much (if anything) that gets this girl to sit still for more than 5-10 minutes at a time...
She watched the whole hour...frankly, I think she hardly noticed when her grandparents left!
So, I'm thinking that perhaps we have a blooming chef on our hands...I'm thinking, "This could be COOL!" Kaitlin grows up, starts cooking for the family and we can enjoy the flavors of food that hasn't been ruined by boiling! Hurrah!
No. Sorry. No luck.
"So, are you going to be a gourmet chef one day," I ask with a hopeful and happy heart.
"No, I just like to watch," she replies without looking away from the TV.
Frankly, I'm surprised she heard me at all.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Is it over-the-top intimidating or out-of-the-box inspiring? Read on to find out...
Amazon Description:MY REVIEW:
*Full of prompts and challenges to get the reader thinking in a different way, Out of Bounds is the first creativity-centered, how-to book on this topic.
*Features 60 stunning sample pages to instruct and inspire scrapbookers.
*In a 2006 survey at one of the premiere U.S. scrapbooking conventions, 41% of attendees surveyed said that the main reason they scrapbook is for the artistic/creative outlet. Many scrapbookers see scrapbooking as their sole creative outlet--their chance to explore, grow and have fun. But these same people may feel confined by the rules of what scrapbooking is supposed to be, whether it's the shape of the page, the materials used or even the reasons why they scrapbook. In this book, two leading scrapbook designers show readers how to shake off these notions and create scrapbook pages and memory art that are free of rules and full of creative inspiration. Sixty unique and exceptional scrapbook pages are featured, each accompanied by the artists' challenge to the reader. Topics include playing with techniques, breaking rules, finding new motivation, and pushing the boundaries.
This book is absolutely gorgeous. The layouts are amazingly unique, inspiring...and a little bit intimidating - for my, anyway. You see, I am mainly what you would call a fairly 'simple scrapper'. I've never gotten into a whole lot of elaborate techniques largely due to timeas a working mom (as well as money for more supplies and the space to store them!). Some of these layouts look as if they could have spent an entire day (if not more) constructing the intricate details and unfortunately, I just don't have that kind of time. HOWEVER, with that said, I WAS inspired greatly by this book...it got me thinking outside the box (way outside) in terms of what one can really do with their scrapbook pages and I really do hope to try out many of the ideas I found in this book, even if it is on a much smaller scale - perhaps a tag or homemade embellishment using some of their amazing techiques. If you're looking for some amazing 'eye-candy' and unique and inspiring techniques, this book is definitely for you!
Sunday, May 13, 2007
It's no different with scrapbook layouts. Attractive (and don't forget the effective) designs make the eyes linger...soaking it all in. Here is a slide show of some of my favorite web page designs as of late:
Just a few of the design elements I especially LOVE:
*scalloped edge along the top of the green block in 'big cartel'...notice the cute little notch on the bottom left?
*the 'photo' blocks in 'capacity' w/ the blue strips running across - perfect for captions or subtitles
*the 'surprise' added by the curve in 'forty eight designs' in an otherwise 'straight' design
*the tone-on-tone vertical title treatment in 'kandi evans'
*the interesting color combinations in 'momono'...brown, black, fuchsia pink and a grey pattern...lovely...
*the jagged edges on the photos in 'mountain lake church' on the top and bottom ONLY...adds a hit of flair without going overboard (and allows you to dust off those ancient deco-edge scissors!)
*the simplicity of the design in 'the bravern'...really allows the photos and title to shine
Challenge 1: What elements really pop out at you in these web page designs? Share one or two with me.
Since I have so recently stated collecting these images in a favorites folder on my computer, I haven't actually scrapped off any of them yet, BUT I can't wait until my next scrapping day. I can guarantee you at least one of these designs will manifest themselves in my scrapbooking. Sure, it will take a little adjusting, but any of them could be easily converted to a 12x12 or other layout size...just use your imagination.
Challenge 2: The next time you scrap, choose one of these web page designs (or another favorite you've found) and create a scrapbook layout based on it. Don't forget to come back and link to your results. I'd love to see!!
Friday, May 11, 2007
My folks just went up to Brookings last weekend to pack him up and bring him home for the summer as he is going to be doing an internship with Kohlberg-Pioneer in Yankton this summer. They all came to town the other day and called me at work to see if I could go for lunch with them...luckily, I could 'cause I really needed a laugh!
He has all these random little things he says that really crack me up. I'm not even sure that I can express his humor in writing...so, I'll try to show you. Clearification is a website that I ran across a while back and this comedian really kind of reminds me of Lee...his mannerisms, the straight face or barely there smile while saying the strangest things...this is who I tell Lee he would be like if he was actually funny (because, of course, I can't just come out and admit to him that I really do think he is kind of funny)...just watch for awhile...I especially like the 'working out' and 'pit stains' segments...so Lee...(if you're impatient, you can go directly to it by clicking on 'thoughts' and then scrolling through the list). (UPDATE: It seems that the above linked website no longer exists as it did when I first make this post. So instead...you can listen to this:
What did you think? I realize that my type of humor is not every one's so I apologize if that was not enjoyable for you (or maybe even a little painful).
Anyway, here is one snippet of what transpired during our lunch:
"Mom, get me a date book. I got things to do this summer," Lee said. He was referring to 'stuff' concerning his internship (I think).
"You need a 'date' book to keep track of all your women?" I asked. "Mom, you can just get him a sheet of paper for that...one sheet will be more than enough."
Now, here's what I really love about Lee.
In response to that jibe, he leans over the table (no, not to hit me) and grabs the little slip of receipt from our meal and says, "Actually, for that, I could just use this."
I don't know about you, but we all laughed - even Lee. I love that he can dish it AND take it...not every one's is very good about that, but he can certainly laugh at himself a little, too.
Love ya, little brother!
Thursday, May 10, 2007
I believe I already mentioned my 'I-don't-want-to-go-in-the-house-ever-again!' issue with my daughter now that the weather has gotten warmer. Every afternoon when we get home, she wants to go right back outside to play and if the neighbors kids aren't out yet, she'll wait...or yell for them from the edge of our lawn until they come out to play. Sometimes I am able to bribe her in once it starts getting dark, but most of the time there are tears...and perhaps some kicking and screaming...involved. Most of the neighbors understand...they're going through the same thing.
So, with working all day and then having to keep an eye on her while outside almost every evening now, it sure doesn't leave much time for blogging...or anything else for that matter.
The storms of last weekend were pretty much over Saturday night...although there had been some threat that something might materialize on Sunday again, nothing did. We went for a drive in the afternoon to survey the damage...and it certainly made us feel lucky that we were out of the direct path of the storm. Here are some pictures of some of the damage we saw:
Here is a house west of Yankton with no roof...
...here is its roof.
Here is a row of trees sucked out of the ground by the roots.
Of course, I didn't even get pictures of the worst of it...many roads were blocked off where the worst damage was to be found. The farm of a lady who works right across the hall from me was hit. Their home suffered some damage, but survived. However, basically the rest of their outbuildings are gone...so sad...but certainly happy that she and her husband are okay and that their home is repairable.
As for some scrapbooking news, I did have Monday off and scrapped the whole day...for the first time in quite a long time. It was great fun and I got about three layouts done in between laundry and other things, of course.
A little more exciting news, though, is that I have been asked to create a layout for Becky Fleck's June Page Maps Newsletter! I am quite excited about that!! She is basically one of the "Queens of Scrapbook Layout Sketches" as far as I am concerned. I already got my assigned sketch and I love it! I will be sure to point a link to her site and the layout once it is up!!
Sunday, May 6, 2007
...how's that for a blast from the past - 1984 style! It was milking time on our farm (5-6:30 p.m. or so) and my mom came running in the house, telling us to get into the basement. She ran around opening windows and we got some bottles ready for my brother. At some point, I must have gone outside to have a look for myself and if anything could scare the crap out of an eight-year-old, that was it. I just remember thinking, "OMG, that's huge!!" Little did we know that it was still near the Missouri (about 6 miles south of our farm) at the time that we were seeing it. I also remember hearing the warning siren coming from our small hometown of Tabor, SD about a one mile away.
My Dad was outside watching the storm come closer and I remember being quite nervous about this. I kept asking my Mom why Dad wasn't coming down.
This tornado missed our farm entirely, but it did hit a few spots in our hometown...not huge devastation, but it certainly did some damage.
Luckily, that's the closest our family has ever come to a tornado.
This weekend has certainly brought back those memories, however. Yesterday, we were reminded once again that we live in tornado alley as there were tornadoes (yes, plural) within 5 miles or so of our home in Yankton, SD.
Here's a picture (borrowed from KSFY.com) of one that touched down just a few miles west of town ...I know because I recognise the view. See the splashes of white and the pole looking things along the bottom of the photo? Those are the sailboats in the marina! The city sirens went off several times during the late afternoon to early evening. Kaitlin and I were watching the weather at home and she was a little worked up about the whole situation. There were times that Justin and I were talking and she would say, "You guys, be quiet! I'm trying to listen to the weather!"
Eventually, Kaitlin and I went down to the basement...where we spent most of the evening and eventually ended up sleeping for the night. She kept asking "What are we going to do when we have to go to the bathroom!?" (we don't have one in the basement), "What are we going to do when we need food!?"
At the point that we went down to the basement, just guess where Justin went. Of course, he had to go get CLOSER to the storm...it must be a guy thing. My only regret is that I didn't send the camera with him! He did come home safe and sound (probably in no small part to the policemen that were blocking drivers from going out of town) and did get to see several of the twisters on the ground and/or trying to pull out of the clouds west of town.
There was some spotty damage in the area...west of Yankton, Utica, etc. There was heavier and more widespread damage in the Mitchell/Hanson, SD areas (northwest of where we live) and many other areas as well. Of course, everyone in the country has probably heard of the devastation to the south of us in Greensburg, Kansas by now.
Not only this, but there has been severe flooding in many areas as well. To this point, Aberdeen, SD, which is several hours to the north of us, has had over 7 inches of rain within the last couple of days and as of this morning they have basically outlawed anyone from even trying to travel...anyone caught out could be ticketed!
And although it is pretty quiet outside right now, from the looks of the weather forecast, we could have more of the same on the way to our area today. Severe thunderstorms are actually forecasted for the next two days.
So, if you don't live in the path of these storms, please say a prayer for us. If you do, let's say a prayer for each other!
Saturday, May 5, 2007
Now...here are six variations of the same photo that I created Photoshop Elements 4 using four filters included with the software (there are dozens more to choose from) and two additional filters that I uploaded into Photoshop from optikVerve:
Graphic Pen (left) -- Saturation Reduction (right)
Diffuse Glow (left) -- Film Grain (right)
OV Fall Colors (left) -- OV Rosy Look (right)
Don't have Photoshop Elements? No problem! Most of these effects, or at least something quite similar can be achieved with Picasa - Google's FREE image editing software!
Have fun with your photos!! Be careful...this kind of play is certainly addictive!
Thursday, May 3, 2007
I've come across some great photo tips and resources online (like here and here)as my interest on photography has developed. Some principles might seem 'basic' (the rule of thirds, use of natural light, etc.), but it never ceases to amaze me that my favorite photos ALWAYS employ at least one of them.
I've also learned that there are some really great ways to 'enhance' good pictures and even save bad ones through the use of you computer. There are some really great filters (like here) and actions (like here) out there. Best of all...the ones I've listed here are FREE!
There are also other very easy to use and free programs that can be downloaded from the Internet (like Picasa) that offer some great effects with a simple click of the mouse.
I have added all these photo resources to 'Inspiration & Resources' link above.