Thursday, June 30, 2011

Norris Lake Tennessee

June visit to Norris Lake.
Four kids, a lake, a boat, tubing, plenty of southern red mud, a swimming pool, a dog, a marina with ice cream and slushies...pretty much the epitome of summer fun.

The tubing shenanigans were out of control and very amusing for the three adults in charge of this brood.

One last picture before we headed in on Wednesday before coming home. At first I got resistance and then I said something like we just had tons of fun for 3 days, you can't give your mother one smile for the camera? Guilt at it's finest. I am biased but are these two beautiful boaters or what?

So lucky for the opportunity to enjoy my sister's and brother's in law new lake house. So glad I took the girls and went.
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Monday, June 27, 2011

A Parenting Win

About 2 weeks ago I came across this blog post about work boxes (geez, I am like the biggest Lindsey Cheney fan in the world!). She uses this system as part of her home schooling routine but it made a giant light bulb go off above my head because I thought it would be a great idea to get my girls to do some summer school work. Every year I set out dedicated that they will at least read over the summer and if I am really ambitious, practice math. This year, for Olivia, mastering the math multiplication facts is imperative so I needed to follow through.

My system is scaled down for just 2 kids and 2 boxes per day. Olivia is the shade of purple and Shelby is the blue (her fravorite color). Olivia especially is excited about this and if I don't have them loaded at the start of the day, she asks! Yesterday, she asked me to fill the boxes on Sunday.
After they have completed the task in each box, they close it back up, turn it around and the box reads DONE. These are at the end of the hall in our upstairs by their bedrooms which is leading to a great result, they are completing them in the morning. So far I have included math flash cards, printed times tests, workbook sheets with telling time practice, books to be read (or a card asking they read 1 chapter) and instructions to write letters to Tyler, my nephew who is away at bootcamp.

When I first introduced them, Olivia nearly immediately said: you never follow through with these ideas. And she is right. But this year we are all going to do better.

One last thing, I sometimes tuck a surprise in box 2 which seems to be a real motivator as well :) I am not too proud to beg...

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

ali edward's a week in the life

I am hoping by adding the button over there on the right, I will commit to doing this project! The first time I participated was back in 2008, nearly 3 years ago. I did the entire album digitally and it is one of my greatest treasures. You can see some of my 2008 week in the life pages here
 Would you look how my girls have grown and changed?!

I loved the challenge of taking everyday life photos. I loved trying to arrange them in a somewhat simplistic format. I love having this snapshot of what a typical week in our life looked like.

Thank you Ali for the challenge and inspiration. Pin It

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

on the table

I just got my second issue of Everyday Foods. Today I had a variation of this for lunch:
Recipe and photo credit can be found at Martha Stewart. I ate mine on a toasted Arnold's Sandwich thin and it was SO tasty!

Tonight, the girls and I made Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins, which was a variation of a bread recipe I found years ago on Nora Griffin's blog.

Tonight we had Papa John's pizza in an effort to help raise money for a family who recently lost their father/husband. I applaud Papa John's for donating 10% of their store sales to the Dulle family.

Next up, I want to make rice dish with cilantro, grilled corn and black beans. Pin It

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day

We spent a few hours at River Downs with my family yesterday. No people photos but I did get a few of the horses and muddy track.

And 2 more of Dave with the girls.

Collages made with my Diptic app. I took the photos, created the collages and posted on my blog using nothing but the iPhone. Thank you Apple.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

good to great, photoshop magic

First, let me acknowledge the ill placed shadow. I am going to overlook that b/c I love this photo of Shelby otherwise.

I liked it as soon as I saw it tiny in the camera display. And I still liked it once I downloaded it.

This is where I insert my "I love my digi SLR camera and really need to dust it off more often" plug.

With a few very simple photoshop actions, I think this photo goes from good to great. Especially my dear child's sparkly eyes.

Camera: Canon Rebel

Actions: Pioneer Woman Freebies. I used slight lighten, boost, edge burn and slight sharpen.
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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Introducing: Simply Social Media

I am taking steps to make my business as a social media consultant more official. Step 1: new blog! Please visit, become a follower, add me to your RSS feed...whatever it is you do when you see and like something new on the web!

My target market is small businesses. I enjoy helping anyone, no matter how big or small their company is, to be successful and to use social media effectively. Please share my desire to help others and encourage them to contact me for a meeting and review.

Going forward, this blog will remain my personal blog and my new blog will be strictly (ok, mostly) business. If you are looking for ideas to improve your own blog, website or social media plan please visit often for helpful hints.

Thanks so much! Tracy Pin It

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

to make

Trying to find some sort of balance between housework, kids, work (the kind I get paid to do!) and some free time for me. There are so many things I would like to make. Here is a very short list of a few of them.Ok, two of them :) I have been "pinning" great ideas on Pinterest like it's my job so visit me there for more ideas.

I also plugged in my Kindle today and recharged it. I would also like to find time/make time for a little summer reading. Suggestions welcome!

My dad gave me all three of the Stiegg Larsson series and I am going to attempt The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo one more time. Encouragement welcome! Pin It

Saturday, June 4, 2011

winding down

This was a busy week leading up to the last day of school.
On Thursday, I spent the day at the zoo with the first graders. That is Shelby in the very front in blue, petting some sort of reptile. She touched every creepy thing they had available for touching: cockroaches, snakes, dragons. Bleck! She did NOT inherit that from me but I like it.

The token elephant shot.

And Shelby and her bestie, Hailey. Hailey had command of that map like it was her job. A first grader with a sense of direction. I like that too.

And then Friday before heading out for 1.5 hours of school, 1 of which was spent at Mass, my now 2nd and 5th graders. What? How did that happen? As my good neighbor says: turn around twice and they will be gone. I am starting to beleive that.

Summer vacation...bring it on.
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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Gift giving

The end of year gifts from all of grade 1 are inside of these bags!

To make: Hallmark bags from Kroger, 25 cents. Doilies by Wilton $2.39 for 20. Label is Dymo.

Easy peasy!

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

updating the home...

So I was under the false assumption that new paint throughout most of my house would equal instant transformation in those rooms. Yea, not so much. It has been a slow process to put things back together, disposing of some of the old, repurposing and also buying new.

So far, the one room that is "most done" is the dining room.
Paint: Martha Stewart Bedford Grey, Home Depot
Artwork: prints from Sprik Space, printed 12x12 at Costco, Ikea Ribba frames, 20x20 (more inspiration with these frames HERE, be warned they are big--the frames not the folks at Young House Love)(light from this angle is not good at all, truer colors shown above)
Curtains: Ikea
Rod: Home Depot Levolor brand

Full disclosure: I only have one pair of curtains b/c I was choosing between dark grey solid and this lighter print. Also, the pair that is hanging has yet to be hemmed. Our longer term goal for this room is to extend the hardwood but for now, the old carpet stays. Also, I would like to add more artwork to some of other walls and am open to suggestions that would bring a bit more texture into the room.

What do you think?
Next up, kitchen!

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