Saturday, March 31, 2007

girl gets camera

I got the Digi Rebel Xt. It feels good and I am sure I will never regret one of the many millions of photos I will eventually take with it BUT it was hard to part with that amount of money. It feels so indulgent. It feels like it is a big gift for me. I really believe photos, and scrapbooking, are a gift to me and my family; right now and probably more so in the future. But when you are a stay at home mom, you live on one income, raise 2 children, pay for pre-school for one, a catholic education for the other, need a monster tree trimmed so you can get some sun on your pool, which needs a new just feel like you spent the grocery money on this frivolous, albeit a beautiful piece of technology, thing. Sigh. I will work through these issues. I will. And read the manual and brush up on some PhotoShop and get to work!
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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

my dancer

Whoa, Monday my daughter had her dance photographs! Was I ever unprepared for that scenario?! First, due to my root canal, my husband had taken her the week prior when they were 1) given the costumes and 2) a description of picture day was given. Let's just say, it was like a game of telephone and all I was told was to "bring the costumes along". Fortunately, I dressed her in most of it prior to going and took a tube of lipstick into the building. Thanks to the generosity of more seasoned moms, she also was given an Extreme Makeover which included: bobby pins, Aqua Net and curling the school cafeteria! Part of me felt embarrassed that I had so overwhelmingly misunderstood the gravity of this event and the other part of me is still glad that I mostly don't care, I can roll with the punches. I am accustomed to routinely writing out checks for professional photos that frankly, stink. Sure, they capture the moment in time which I do LOVE, but my kid is usually quirky in either her clothing selection or hairdo and the fact is, she is 5 which lends itself to wackiness no matter what.
OK, after all are some photos...I am a decent enough Mom to have brought a camera...although it was clearly on some wacky setting causing funky images. You will however get the idea. The first was taken outdoors at home. The location chosen solely by Olivia. She wanted to be next to the newly bloomed pink flower. You can also see, feel, why I need a new camera with a decent portrait mode, so I could blur out the background which here, is as crystal clear as my child herself.

Oh yea, I'd be remiss not to acknowledge the bright pink, 2 sizes too big, crocs. There, I acknowledged them.

Moving on to the inside photos:

Blurry and yucky but you get the idea of the total sweetness, right?! I have a few better of her whole class but I don't think I should plaster all those other girls over the internet. Oh, this is her tap get up, the ballet is more of the above but with some other things added.

And for my evidence that the camera was indeed wonky, here is my younger daughter, who was exceedingly not patient. She alternated between saying: it's my turn (wanting to get her photo taken), I wanna go home, and I have to poopy. I got lots of dirty looks about that last comment and the fact that I did not act on it. But, she is not potty trained. She simply wanted out of the cafeteria!

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

look at what I did...

I got some pages completed that I am happy with! And I met new people. Many different styles represented, most simpler than mine. I have to admit, I was greeted with some skepticism regarding my style of scrapbooking. I am fairly trendy, I like new stuff, and I spend money on supplies. I view these as good things, I am not sure every scrapbooker does. Oh well, I like my pages and how I create them makes me proud and happy. My family fared quite well during my 14 hour absence, another thing to be proud of! Nobody required the Heimlich like during my last outing so all is good.

Here are a few more pages:

Oh, and if there are any "hardcore" scrapbookers reading...I made my own "thicker" type stickers for the MP-3 title by using a Sizzix and craft foam. Someone at the scrapbooking event had a Sizzix and about 10 alphabets. Too bad for me, I decided to try this out only moments before she left b/c I could have cut out a few more cool titles!
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Friday, March 23, 2007

tomorrow...i scrap

Potentially for 16 hours! That's right. My mom signed us up for this crop that goes from 8a-midnight. Woot! I aiming for 12 hours. But the amount of STUFF I need to take to scrapbook from home is just overwhelming. Don't tell anyone but I have been working for a week+ to gather and organize it. Here is a sampling, minus one large set of drawers, yes as in, plastic chest of drawers that I plan to travel with:

I'd be embarassed if I did not enjoy the process, and the end result, so much. I am also very excited to scrap with tunes this time. Although, I also love spending that much time with my Mom, so I will not have headphones on the whole time. And just b/c I am such a good daughter, I made her a little playlist of Johnny Mathis, Barbra Streisand, and Kenny Rogers. Those are some of her favs.

Looking forward to getting a decent handful of pages completed. Look for some next week perhaps!

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Monday, March 19, 2007


In this life, I feel like I may be the only person left with out either Tivo or DVR on their cable and an MP3 player. So after a few weeks of research, and price comparison, I settled on an MP3 player that I wanted. Nothing too hi-tech but enough to get me started, and inspired to get out and walk. After first buying the 1GB version on Saturday, I ended up with this

2GB SanDisk player from Best Buy. Ok, after working out the kinks, once I got to actual downloading, I fell in love. Wow, it is cool and I understand the whole Ipod phenomenon now! As intrigued and excited as I may be, my two children are even more enamored. So much so, that I think the 5 y/o will most likely get one for her B'day in July. Here are my two techno geeks, sharing the earphones last night.

Their favorites so far: Black Horse and a Cherry Tree and Big Yellow Taxi (Counting Crows). Olivia, the oldest, is now adding to her very own playlist. Her first request: Cheeseburger in Paradise.

Who knew how fun this could be?! I just hope I get to be the three, in MP3, and actually get to use the darned thing :)

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

a yummy recipe

I understand that my recipe posts would be a tad more interesting if I included photos, but I keep forgetting to take them. Also, I fear my family will than know I have gone completely over the edge. Anyway, here is a really good recipe:

White and Wild Rice Salad

2/3 c. wild rice (I used Uncle Ben’s Original, without the seasoning)
1.5 c. white long grain rice
½ lb. snow peas, cut in half cross wise
3 tbl. Balsamic vinegar
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
6 tbl. Vegetable oil
¼ c. apricot preserves
1 lg. red pepper, cut into a ½ inch dice
2 scallions trimmed and sliced thin

Cook wild rice following package directions. Drain and spread out on a baking sheet to cool. While wild rice is cooling, cook white rice according to pkg directions. Spread out on a baking sheet to cool.

Bring a medium size saucepan of water to boil. Add snow peas and cook for 3 minutes or until crisp tender. Drain and rinse under cold water. (I steamed mine in the microwave instead.)

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, salt, pepper. Gradually whisk in oil. Whisk in apricot preserves until mixture is smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, gently combine rice, snow peas and red pepper. Add dressing and gently stir to coat. Put scallions on top and serve.

Recipe from Family Circle

About the picture taking. I have literally thought more about buying this camera, than about who I was going to marry, or becoming a parent. Ok, maybe not, but it is beginning to feel that way. Although I want a Digital Rebel XT with my whole heart, it is hard for me to part with the funds, when my gig as a SAHM is not paying so well. But, I have been saving from my PT job, and some gift money etc. and I think I am going to do it! Instead of upgrading immediately to the XTi, I am going to get an XT from Target, b/c it is about $100 less AND if I sign up for a Target credit card, I can get another 10% off. See, I have this thing justified like it is MY job :) So, if I really do it, prepare for many more photos! I know just enough about photography and photoshop to be dangerous. Pin It

Saturday, March 10, 2007

birthday celebration, part 2

Today, we celebrated mine and my mom's birthdays together as they are two weeks apart. While not the most flattering, I do think these photos capture the moment well! And I really love that they have my Mom and I together, along with my two girls.

And that is another cheesecake from Costco (see below Birthday photo, same cake!). You cannot go wrong with this giant confection for $12.

My sister got me a big KI Memories slab of paper, 180 sheets. I am pretty pumped about that.

And in bad news related to aging...I have an absessed tooth. NO fun.

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Friday, March 9, 2007

chocolate chip banana bread

one word: yum!

I got this recipe:

Recipe from Everyday Food Magazine
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Serves 12; Prep time: 15 minutes; Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes
This classic quick bread, from reader Raymond Forker in Savannah, Georgia. is a great way to use bananas that are just past their prime. There is no need to cut out the brown spots—just mash them in with the rest.
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 medium)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch (6-cup) loaf pan. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, zest, and salt. Mix in oil, eggs, and bananas. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Pour into pan.
2. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 70 to 80 minutes (tent loosely with foil if loaf browns too quickly). Cool loaf 10 minutes in pan; then turn out of pan and cool completely, right side up, on a rack.

from this blog: which is an off shoot of Nora's regular blog which I read often. Either Nora is a really good cook, I am a really good cook, or we just like the same foods, or maybe all of the above BUT everything I have made that I have "taken" from her has been superb. This bread is so easy but really superb. I have made the tri-tip marinated in beer several times, it is terrific too. And for the midwest, Cincinnati people, Costco has tri-tips, it seemed no one else in any meat dept. knew what the heck I spoke of!

Although it is Friday, and it is lent, I have the stuff to make the Turkey Croquettes shown on the right, again. I am going to make them to have later this weekend, and share two with my parents. Delish as RR would say! Pin It

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

the Mary Maguire Foundation

I would be remiss not to mention this wonderful place where I work part-time. You can learn about it here:
but in a nutshell, the Foundation helps women survivors adjust to life after cancer. I work for a phenomenal person, and have met more inspiring women than I can count. Right now they are in the midst of a fundraiser, which I am actively working on, mostly in the administrative sense, but it is rewarding regardless. Take a look! Pin It

Monday, March 5, 2007

black and white photo conversion

I am a novice at PhotoShop. A complete novice. But I read alot, and when I have time, I test things out too. I think Jessica Sprague is just a great teacher, and nice person too: so I knew if she thought this was a great technique, I needed to give it a try (oh and my friend Carla, a good photog in her own right said to try it out as well!). Well I did, and it was quick and easy and gave me some impressive results. Below is the after and before! As you can see, I started with a picture that was hurtin' with red eyes and all! But I loved my daughter's pose and the sweet look on her face as she is watching Scooby Doo, no doubt!
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Saturday, March 3, 2007

my birthday

For my kids, any birthday is big excitement, even if it is not their own. And my birthdays, despite the fact I am getting SO old, are a lot more fun b/c of my kids. I think this picture is a pretty good example. You cannot even see me, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but you surely can see the joy on their faces. I love that. And I loved my gifts that Olivia, who is 5.5, chose for me: a shirt, a silver heart bracelet, and an angel statue from the Dollar Store. She loves those $1 statues.

I had a great day and was very pleasantly surprised by the number of emails and phone calls I got to wish me well. Yesterday, we celebrated with my in laws and next week will party with my family.
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Thursday, March 1, 2007

friendships, blogs, scrapbooking

First, I am eternally grateful for the close knit group of friends I have remained in contact with since college. I hate to but I will admit, I met some of them 20 years ago, and other few 19 years back. That does make me an old bat...who turns 38 tomorrow. Anyway, 5 of us met up last weekend and it was truly good times laughing and re-hashing our past. Although we had cameras, we did not take a single shot of the 5 of us together. Inexcusable.

Now, about blogs. Late Saturday evening we began discussing them after many cocktails and at the exact moment we were enjoying hamburgers as large as our heads. I just assume everyone reads blogs, as I do. Not the case. One friend even asked: are they for losers?! Not knowing of course about my little secret here. At this time, I am still in the closet but I will soon come clean to these women who I have shared more than half of my life with. I like my blog. It is a work in progress and I am not quite sure when, if ever, it will be relevant to others. But for now I like it, and the minimal time it takes to maintain. As for other blogs, I love them. Probably too much so. They are the bloodsuckers that steal my time and keep me too long at my computer and away from the many other things that demand my time--like kids, meals, laundry, cleaning house.

Now to scrapbooking. I submitted a BUNCH of pages to a Memory Makers call. I have to assume they liked something they saw b/c they inquired if any were "unseen" as in never published on a website. Darn it. I love instant gratification and have the suckers plastered just about everywhere (can you see that slideshow?!). Only one is available. I was pretty bummed at this missed opportunity. But the next day, I got a new email extending the date for layouts for this book until March 9 SO now I am trying to produce some worthy pages :) I am trying to stay really motivated since Memory Makers is located about 15 min. from my house and I would just love for them to give me some more permanent type of gig :)

Ok, that is a sufficient amount of rambling to fill the void that was this past week as far as presence on my blog. I have made a few new recipes that I will bring to you soon. Again, not sure who YOU is, but I will share some tasty dishes for the heck of it! Pin It