Thursday, May 31, 2007

parades, school winding down, june on the horizon

We attended the Frontiers Day parade tonight. The 90 degree weather did not seem to deter a soul, instead it brought the people out in mass. Luckily, a friend had a key parking and viewing spot for us so it all went smoothly. Shelby would definitely win the most enthusiastic parade go-er if there were such an award. She squealed with delight the ENTIRE time. And would announce each detail: he waved at me, there's a bear, there's a balloon, a horse, a get the idea. She was so captivated that she really did not turn around much for me to take pics. I do like the one of her looking on holding the flag though.
Olivia has been pretty enthralled by Clydesdales since getting her Webkin, and tonight, she got to see them with her own eyes.
And the girls are so cute with the flags, huh?
Olivia has just 3 days of school left. Wow! They sent a bunch of her work home today, included were the results of some standardized testing. She did well, strong was the category. She got 22/23. I am so proud. I just wish she cooperated here as well. She does not even want to read to us although she is pretty darned good at it. This summer, it is a must.
Tomorrow...June 1. Bring it on. Vacation is just 14 days away :)

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007


If you are a scrapbooker, you can understand my total excitement. Man, I feel like I just won an Emmy or something :) It's not just that my layout is up on their website today, Creating Keepsakes, but the nice things she said, well I am just beside myself. I absolutely love to scrapbook, and take pictures, and when it is recognized in this way, it somewhat justifies ignoring my children, the laundry, staying up way too late, spending a tad too much money, dreaming of page layouts...
Yay, me!

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

she's got all the moves

It is that time of year---pool time! It has been so HOT, nearly 90 degrees so although we have a new liner on order, we have swam the past 2 days, and will until it has to be drained and the dirty (and costly?!) job is done.

Olivia seems to have not missed a beat in her swimming skills and here she is tonight, with some of her fancy "jump in" moves. Isn't that top one funny, it is like she is walking on the water!

Shelby, well, she is coming along. Currently she is stuck with wearing a Barbie life jacket, and her father has decided to put a ring around her as well. She doesn't quite get the balance thing in the jacket alone, but with the ring around that, she can float around solo. I cannot wait until she can swim, and/or at least touch the bottom of the shallow end. One more summer of hard work for me I fear until one of those two things happens.

As for the awkward placement of photos, blame blogger!
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Monday, May 28, 2007

the weekend

Hopefully, my third try is the charm. Blogger seems to have been ticked at me the last two nights I have tried to post, especially with pictures.
All in all, it has been a great weekend but exhausting too. Poor Shelby definitely burned out last night, she fell asleep in the car around 7pm, slept for another 15 min in the car in the garage, then another hour on the couch and finally slept right thru a move to her bed at 8:30 pm. She was filthy and covered in paint, from a rock painting adventure at MaMa's. She awoke at 11:30 pm but managed to fall back asleep after she received her drink, and got changed into pajamas, and nestled between Mom and Dad in their bed. A trend that seems to be emerging pretty strongly.
All of Dave's family is in town so I took over 100 photos on Saturday night. Here are some fun ones and some good ones:
My two brown eyed children are the odd ones out in his family. I must say, capturing gorgeous blue eyes was fun.
As you might imagine, corralling 7 grandchildren, at varying levels of

tired-ness and hungry-dom can result in mass hysteria. Here is one version of that.

My two are the characters, one yelling and the other doing the funny face routine.

I am tired too! I was able to redeem a $25 gift certificate at my local scrap store today, so that has me a bit rejuvenated. I cannot wait to use some of the great, new stuff I got and make use of all these pictures. I need to get in a groove and get some things organized. Olivia only has 6 days of school left and then I am back to a full schedule of two kids 'round the clock!

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

having a Field Day

Today, Olivia had her first Field Day at school. The Kindergartner's was on a little lesser scale than the big kids, and thank goodness really b/c it is in the upper 80's here today. HOT!! Here are some action shots of her. This first one, well it really melts my heart, and not just b/c I have yet to cool down from being out there for 2+ hours. Sometimes (honestly, it happens a few times per week, not sure how normal that is, emotionally speaking) I just well up looking at my children. Usually during something very ordinary. Like field day. Or b/c she is really smiling at me, for me, wearing a High School Musical shirt. It sums up who and where she is right now. The fact that I am there, enjoying my child, and her everyday experiences, it's just about the sweetest thing ever. I have bad days, lots of them, but I truly always wanted to be a Mom. I wanted to bake cupcakes, and help at the school functions. And doing it, it is just about as good as I ever imagined. Often times it's better. Chances are, she is going to get off of the bus this afternoon one big ol' hot grump and a good day, is going to lead into a slightly more challenging night. So I will savor my bits of contentment. And it dawned on me, as I wrote this, what the meaning of "having a field day" is. Funny. She had hers, and I had one of my own.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

a page and a challenge

I made this page as a result of seeing this blog listed at 2 peas. I doubt I can keep up with them weekly, or maybe it is bi-weekly, but it was a good kick in the pants for this page. I could not scan this page b/c all the buttons made it look wonky, so instead I took an OK picture of it. I love how timeless Shelby looks--it could be 1907 or 2007!
I may sneak to the camera store tonight and try to exchange or replace my lens. I am sure the Holiday weekend will provide many photo ops, and I'd like to have it on hand. I have to go into work for a bit as well. Last night I attended a very nice fundraising dinner sponsored by Cancer Family Care, where Maureen (my boss) was honored. So humbling to hear people speak of their triumphs over this disease personally, or how people have worked so hard to help others. Inspiring.
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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

people are just strange...

and rude! Today, I slowed to 20 m.p.h. in front of a large school zone that spans both our Junior and Senior High schools. I'd like to say I am just that good of a person, but I got a ticket a few months ago, sort of in a school zone (that school is now closed but the speed limit was still 25?) so my eyes have been opened to this and the need to be cautious. So, I slow to 20 mph, and the mini van behind me is riding my bumper, I mean she is about 6" away from it. And then she starts honking at me, a continuous honk. Well, I roll down my window to point to the SCHOOL we are driving past, but apparently she still believes I am just out to get her?! I may have yelled a few things too, like "it's a freaking school zone!", understanding of course only me, and my two kids could actually hear that. So my 5 y/o turns around and then tells me the lady is on the phone, and doesn't she know to slow down? She must not have gotten a recent ticket like me (her mother)?!

Anyway, this woman, who you have to assume is a mom herself if she is driving a mini van for gosh sakes, just keeps tailing me, drifting to the left to see what could possibly be holding me up, not considering it could just be the LAW. Enter a new car, with an old driver who really is driving slow after the school zone which kind of cracks me up. Well, mini van mom, she follows me through two parking lots, and when I finally pulled in a spot, she drove away. I guess she was going to rumble with me, while I had two kids in the car? I tell ya, it had my blood pressure on the rise!!

Okay, let's lighten things up with a few new butterfly show pictures as an ode to Len, my lost lens, who served me oh so well.

MaMa and my youngest.

The four grand kids, the big ones and the little ones. Yes, my sister's kids are nearly raised, and I am still changing diapers. Sometimes I wonder what is wrong with that!!

And this is my oldest, Olivia, in the pink. She was sharing a butterfly with this other little girl. Sweet, huh? And even more significantly, this was picture 1000 on my camera. I have taken 1000 photos in just under 6 weeks with this camera and darn it, I am proud of that!

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

from the heights of happiness to the depths of despair...

The butterfly show was incredible. We all loved it, from the littlest to the biggest. The kids especially had the knack for catching and holding them. Me? Not so much, which is just fine! One did land on me out of the clear blue though, and I managed not to freak out and smash it. The above photos are some of my best. My new lens took some tack sharp photos with gorgeous color. There is an amateur photo contest, and for sch*ts and giggles, I may enter one. Let me know by commenting if there is one you like best. There were also many professional photographers there with gear to make a girl like me DROOL! I assume they take photos to re-sell or maybe to submit to publications?
On a very tragic note. Afterward, I misplaced my keys and after we searched thru my small purse and camera bag, I picked up the camera bag haphazardly, not knowing it had not been fastened closed. Well, my new 50mm, Len the lens, fell onto the concrete. It could have been worse. My Mom says she barely caught my camera. Still...Len and I had a passionate and intense love affair these past 5 days. My love for him rivals the love I have for my very own children. He will remain in my heart but somehow, some way, I am going to find another $80 and race to the store to replace him. I am not cold. I am not callous. I plan to wait at least 48 hours before doing so. May Len rest in peace.
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Thursday, May 17, 2007

it's all about the lens..

So now I know. I know how to get that look I have been working like a dog to achieve. Clear subjects with tons of blur behind them. Or in this case, the feet in focus, kid-not so much. I plunked down my $80, for a Canon 50mm 1.8 lens, and I am pretty sure life is never going to be the same. My children, neighbor kids, strangers at the park...they are all going to be running from me and my click click click! I am pretty excited to attend the Butterfly Show this weekend. Thank goodness other family members are going so they can keep a safe eye on my kids, while I take pics.
You can see a few more here:
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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

finally doing a little scrapbooking!

My friend Martha sent me two huge stacks of great patterned paper (and paid huge shipping to get them to me across the US of A) so between that and all the recent photos, here's what I have done. I have to give a shout out to one of my neighbors for taking the swing photos of Shelby. I loved them! (UDPATE: I had to remove that layout b/c it is going to be published in Layout Blueprints 2!)
We are celebrating my husband's birthday for the third time today, it is his actual B'day...finally. And I got colossal cupcake from Kroger, no more confections from me. Although we are having a steak dinner, prepared by moi.
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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

a few bits of random info

First, we headed back to Pizazz today in search of another Webkin. The only store closer to us, with them in stock, had nothing but white bunnies yesterday. Well, Olivia hit the mother load and got the coveted Clydesdale horse, using money from her Lemonade Stand, saved up change, dollars from PaPa and money MaMa sends in cards. The price went from 9.95 to 12.95 so I spotted her a few bucks! But me, I hit the real jackpot. This store has a HUGE Vera Bradley display, and today, as we stood outside waiting for the doors to open, who was there paying a visit? The Vera Bradley rep!! And she gave me, and two other ladies free stuff. I was carrying a Medallion style purse, so she gave me this:

I think VB calls it a jewelry case, although I see it as a make up case. And a tiny little jewelry holder, but I do not see that online. Very cute and in this pattern:

I feel like now I need to buy a purse to match it! There sure were lots of new, very cute things from VB there, and if I do buy anything in the future, it will be from that store b/c that woman has won me over. Seriously, I bet that was $50+ in gifts. Surprise! Hooray for me! She even gave my girls notepads, and those were for sale in the store as well. Totally loving the new patchwork pattern I saw, I wish the purse styles came in that, not just the change purses.

Next, here are the Mother's Day bookmarks I made:

I printed the photo collages in PS, added a few digi elements, attached them to cardstock and sewed on a ribbon tag.

And big news for Shelby..............she has tinkled twice on the potty in the last 24 hours. And she has asked me to go. Holy cow, could I be getting close to a diaper free home?!

She also had her last day of pre-school, she graduated. I am very proud of that. She will now move on to 3 yr old pre-school next year! Her teacher made an elaborate scrapbook for each of the 8 kids, and she teaches 3 classes so that is 24 total books--24 pages each--plus she gave me at least a dozen extra photos. As a scrapper, I was blown away b/c I know how much time each must have taken. I plan to donate all of my unused supplies directly to her, b/c I know they would go to good use. Absolutely an amazing gift to receive.

***Vera Bradley product photos from their website*** Pin It

Monday, May 14, 2007

mother's day = good fun, good eating, good stuff!

Let me start with my very cute family...and my very NOT cute cake! Delicious though. YUMMY! Trust me, it is simple and worth the fight with your bundt pan.
After brunch, my family was motivated and cooperative about we took pics! I got lots of great ones, only I had the settings wrong on my camera, which I will not bore anyone with the details here. I could kick myself, but at least I learned a lot. And found out that my free, "junk" picture frame was fun and gave us some cool results!

My parents with Olivia. I love this!
My parents with the "big" grandkids.

And this very funny, Soprano-ish one. I turned around and saw them looking at me like this and could not resist.

This girl who I love...

And me and my other sweetie!

If you are a Mom, I hope you had as rich of a Mother's Day as I did :)

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

I baked a cake..

a very delicious one too. A few years ago, I played a big role in organizing a family cookbook for my husband's very LARGE, extended family. I like to cook that much...and my mouth is that big. It happened at a baby shower when we were all complimenting ourselves on being good cooks, and I said something like: wouldn't it be great if we had a family cookbook? And it was done. I was basically in charge, with the help of other family members, to larger and lesser degrees. Fortunately, the two really good cooks, Dave's Aunt Bev and Aunt Shirley were very helpful, as was my mother in law. Anyway, this cake is from that book:

Yummy Chocolate Cake

1 Box Duncan Hines Deluxe Yellow Cake Mix (Not the Butter Recipe)
1 sm . box instant chocolate pudding mix. (not sugar free)
¾ C. water
¾ C. oil
8 oz. Sour cream
1 tsp. Vanilla
3 eggs
12 oz. Chocolate chips
6 oz. White chocolate chips

Mix together everything except chips and beat until smooth. Add Chips. Mix well.

Pour into well greased and floured bundt pan. Bake @ 350 for 1 hr. I sometimes let it bake a little longer.

Cool completely remove from pan. Doesn’t need any frosting.

submitted by Aunt Bev

This is also the reason I have a ton of recipes, already loaded on my computer in convenient, word documents. So sharing is easy.

The bad news for this cake? It did not make a clean dismount from the bundt cake pan. This is typical for me. The bundt cake and I; we are not the best of friends. My sister Kelly? She bakes about one a week and I have never seen one get stuck. Anyway, the cake is to celebrate Dave's B'day tomorrow. I am going to have to be pretty convincing with the "it still tastes delicious" argument, seeing as one side is missing. You may or may not see a photo of this. Realistically, you will b/c if my adorable children are sitting on their Dad's lap while we sing Happy Birthday to him, chances are, I will take a picture.

In happier news, I also bought a Jerry's Cheesecake for the same occasion, only to be consumed with my family earlier in the day. This place has amazing cheesecake! And I am only one person..I cannot make every confection from scratch. Right? Pin It

Friday, May 11, 2007

teacher's gift idea & photo software PSA

I made two of these bookmarks for Shelby's teachers to include with Borders gift cards. Her last day of pre-school is Monday, it really snuck up on me. Our weekend is so busy, but I'd also like to get a book for the classroom for each teacher too.
I made the photo collage in PhotoShop, but I have done similar things using Picture It. I adhered that to cardstock and then sewed on the ribbon tab. I *may* have made something similar for Mother's Day, but just in case my Mom reads this blog, I will hold off on showing them.

Now for my Public Service Announcement:
For those of you with digital cameras, but who are not so crazy as me attempting to learn PhotoShop (which I think should comprise about 99% of the population) you need to try Picasa from Google. It is free editing software, and if you do nothing else, open your pictures and use the "sharpen" option and prepare to me amazed. It takes away some digital haze, that you did not even know was there, but once it is gone you will marvel at your beautiful photo! Lots of other cool stuff on there too but start with sharpen if you do nothing else.

This is also an awesome place to view all your photos. Check it out. Heck, I just saw they have a newer, new version so I am off to update my own. Pin It

Thursday, May 10, 2007

a yummy dessert recipe

Vanilla Pudding and Banana Dessert

1 large pkg. of instant vanilla pudding
1 box of Lorna Doone shortbread cookies
1 stick of butter or margarine
2.5 cups of milk
1 tub of Cool Whip
3 ripe bananas

Crush Lorna Doone cookies coarsely, combine with one stick of melted butter, and spread in a 9x13 pan.

Make pudding using 2.5 cups of cold milk. Once combined, add 2 heaping tablespoons of Cool Whip and mix together. Slice one or two bananas into pudding mixture.

Slice one banana over cookie crust. Spread pudding mixture over that. Spread remaining Cool Whip on top.

Enjoy! My neighbor said to crush oreos over the top but I like it like this.

As usual, no pictures! I made this for the Teacher Appreciation Luncheon yesterday at my daughter's school and the people, they were raving. Olivia's teacher told me she had to go back for a second scoop. Thing is, I put this in a disposable, aluminum pan for ease of transporting and to eliminate the necessity to remember to bring home my empty dish. So, all yellow and white ingredients, in a silver, disposable pan...probably not something that could be beautified once photographed. But trust me, this is GOOD STUFF. I only had it for the first time last summer at my neighbor's house, and since then I have made it 2-3 times, and it disappears. I usually cheat and make a little dish on the side for myself. I recommend that. Also, this is my best attempt at writing down the recipe that was relayed to me over the phone so if you already make this dish, and see flaws, they are not big enough to effect the taste. Pin It

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

You know you are a photo nut when...

The school secretary thanks you profusely for all of the pictures you have donated for the school yearbook and claims that you are one of the very FEW who has given any photos at all. As it turns out, her daughter, who is an education major, is in charge of the yearbook this year, for the first time. So they are feeling the pain of little participation. I told her I hope it is not the OLIVIA K. yearbook b/c that might be a tad embarassing...or not! Sandy says Olivia is very present in this upcoming edition, tee hee. She did mention that they were very excited for me to be active next year when I will be attending all of the "main school" events, not just the PM Kindergarten ones :) It is my pleasure to have a new outlet for the bizillion pictures I take. I feel the pull toward volunteerism in this department, that's for sure.

On a sad, school-related note, a parent at Olivia's school died this week of liver cancer. Apparently Mrs. Nance was in her early 30's and had 5 children. Although I do not know the family, I feel the loss and sadness. My ultimate fear is leaving my young children too early. I am praying for this family and am quite touched by the school's communication on the subject and how they are rallying as a community. Pin It

Monday, May 7, 2007


As Rachael Ray would say! I made this tonight, I had our neighbors over at the last minute and the four of us ate EVERY BIT OF IT. Very easy and really tasty too. You can find the recipe for Asian-Style Barbecue Pork Chops and Succotash here. I think it would be just as good with chicken and on the grill.
The picture is from RR's website, not my camera :)

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Sunday, May 6, 2007

two new family members

Today we welcome Ethel and Chapstik. They are Drizzlepets. I have to say, I was quickly struck at the genious of this idea, and that was before I saw they had a website. The marketing was genious too, they came in mini Chinese takeout containers with a brochure about caring for them, and inside two of the four flaps was a handwritten name, and birthdate. Olivia picked Chapstik and Shelby chose Ethel, or Effel as she calls her/it. And me, I shelled out $6 per Drizzlepet! We saw these at the Madeira Art Fair, which I so enjoy but had not been to in years. I mostly bought the kids stuff, and hot dogs for lunch. I saw lots of jewelry I would have loved to have but instead got a ribbon keychain with my initial emroidered on it. After finding Ethel and Chapstik, it was really anticlimatic. Pin It

Saturday, May 5, 2007

As promised...PICTURES!

In reverse order of the evenings actual activities:

Some of her fans.
Her many bouquets of flowers.

Perfoming her ballet number.

More ballet.

A very dedicated, and well behaved onlooker....Miss Shelby, along with Aunt Kelly.

Cheesing it up for the camera in her spot in the hall where she waited to go "on".

Olivia and Miss Lindsey, her dance teacher.

A little nonsense with friends.

Coming down the stairs after declaring: "Everyone! Come to the stairs!"

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Friday, May 4, 2007

I need a new t-shirt that says:

I survived my daughter's dance recital!!!

Aside from some rough patches at home, trying to get ready for the big show, things went amazingly well. Olivia really knew the dances, and actually looked over to the side at the teacher for guidance far less than most other children. That could mean one of many things:
--she was starstruck by the volume of people crammed in the cafeteria, I mean auditorium
--she is so extremely confident, and hardheaded, that she refused to look over there for help
--she got all caught up in the moment and was just shaking her money maker any way she darned well pleased
--she forgot she had a teacher?
--she was too busy combing the crowd for her own adoring fans

Anyway, it was sweet. The recital began at 7 pm and I have already downloaded and looked thru my 75 photos from tonight alone AND watched the entire video tape and it is not even 11pm! I LOVE TECHNOLOGY!!!

You have all been to such events, so excuse my very poor snapshots. Not every picture can be a moment in portraiture, right?? But these, they tell the story.

***Blogger does not want to upload any cute photos of ballerinas tonight, so stay tuned :) *** Pin It

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

It's an oven in here and the dance photos begin

Well, our AC is out, fortunately for us, my father in law is a retired AC repairman. Unfortunately, the part we need will take 5-7 days to arrive, and cost $400-500. These past two days, I'd probably sell my kids to cool this place off though! In that is my 2 year old, was a comfy 80+ at this point of the day (inside the house) and she decides to empty what is left in our cold weather basket:

I think the temp maxed out at around 87-88 degrees. Olivia had a walk a thon to raise money for her school today so I went there from 1-2:30. Picked her up from school around 3p, and began the preparation for dance recital rehearsal at 4p, left the house at 4:30p and returned a still VERY hot house. Bleck. But you know what makes me feel better? A few photos of my sweet, ballerina.

And more of a snapshot to give you a feel for things and the reason why I welled up no less than 5x's today and this is practice people! The floodgates will be OPEN come Friday.

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