Monday, April 30, 2012

Something That Makes Me Sad #photoadayApril

#photoadayApril Day 30!


Today is the last day of April.  I think I missed yesterday's photo which was "circles" I know I took a snapshot with my phone but it wasn't worth posting. The other day that I missed was the day where the subject was "somewhere I went" I went a few places that day and took a snapshot with my phone of the Brew Fest beer glass but never posted that either.  So maybe in May I will do better with this challenge. OMG that is tomorrow!  Never the less there are  a few things that make me sad. Like this morning when I woke up to wet pavement again (RAIN) ugh. Really tired of it. Stepping on the scale this morning after a "party" weekend double ugh ugh!  But as I thought more and more, here's what really saddens me.....


Every night my son and I read The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss! It was read to me when I was young and because I L.O.V.E Dr. Seuss books we read them religiously in our household.  For those of you who don't know this book, it is about two different towns that "battle" over who eats bread with butter spread the correct way.  As with most "wars" it is a difference of opinion. My way is RIGHT and yours is WRONG.  This book though it is written to address a younger population it depicts situations that our governments and nations go through when entering into war.  I am saddened by the theme that continues to be perpetuated.  

When my son and I read this we discuss (of course at a four year old level) the theme of sharing, right and wrong, hurting others, and what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior when we don't care for something others care for.  This book continues to enrich our lives. Thank you Dr. Seuss!

Can't we all just get along?

Day 1 Teacher Appreciation

I decided to be SUPER (crazy) Mom of a preschool kiddo! What does that mean you say?  Well we appreciate my son's teacher and teacher assistant so much that we are celebrating them for one full week. It begins today!

Day One

Check out this idea I got from Pinterest and really Lisa Storms.  There are so many things you can do with these drink cups! But this is what I did.  Thank you for the free printable too!




Total Cost:

Crystal Light (Safeway: 1 pkg @ $2)
Plastic Drink Cups (Craftwarehouse: 1 cup @ $3.99)
Printable (free)
Total Cost: $5.99

This was pretty reasonable for two gifts to begin our week.  What will you be doing for your kiddo's teachers? 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cupcakes for the Auction

Cupcakes

What did I do on my Friday day off?

Glad you should ask.  Well I spent the day pulling together cupcakes for the dinner auction at my son's school that will occur in a few short hours from now.  I tried a new recipe my sister pinned for me on Pinterest. Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes the recipe called for many ingredients. Some of which are posted here.
I chose to use a cute cupcake liner that is from Paula Dean's line of merchandise. I found these at Michael's in their dollar bins. Super cute.

The very first thing I did was to line the cupcake pan! 






These are just some of the ingredients that were used to make the cupcake batter. Cake flour, unbleached all purpose flour, baking powder, salt, and of course sugar were mixed together with the butter and




eggs, whole milk and vanilla extract.  Pour the wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients and you have a cupcake batter to mix and ready to pour 2/3's full in the cupcake liners.  As always I have to taste. Yummy already. 


Once done let them cool for a while.

FROSTING

If you ask my son he will tell you that the best thing about cupcakes is the frosting and I couldn't agree more! This frosting calls for  butter (unsalted again), Salt (a pinch I would say) confectioners sugar and vanilla. 

Mix with a hand held mixer to make sure it is well mixed. I think this worked better than using the Kitchenaid  this time around.  Once those ingredients are blended well add strawberry jam to taste.  And it tastes good. I added three tablespoons of Strawberry Jam and the frosting was perfect.  

 Cupcake Filling?

 Some cupcakes have filling. They are the ones with surprises in them. In this particular cupcake I put fresh strawberries inside the cake after the cake was baked.  Here are the strawberries whole and diced.


 Once you have prepped your strawberries and your cupcakes are cooled (If you needed to you could probably cool the cupcakes in the fridge to speed up the cooling process) you need to bore a hole in the cupcake in order to fill it with diced strawberries. I used a piping tip one of my bigger ones, and placed it three quarters of the way down the center of the cupcake as seen above.  This worked great! Then I filled the cupcakes with diced strawberries as seen below.


Ready to frost.  I cleaned up the same tip that I used to bore the hole in order to place the strawberries inside the cake, cleaned it up and then filled my washable piping bag full of the strawberry frosting and began frosting the cupcakes!



Finally I placed a cut strawberry on top for decoration.  Of course I had extras and wanted to make sure these were good. AND they were!


I think they turned out great! 

 Silent Auction Item

 Because these cupcakes were going to be in the silent auction at my son's school, I wanted to package them up in a super cute way. So I bought boxes to place them in and then put a decorative ribbon on them. See below.





 Sorry this section is a little heavy on pictures. But you get the point. Super cute items up for auction.  When I arrived at the auction I went to see how many people were bidding on these items as a collection.  There were several already.  Someone walked away with 1 dozen cupcakes for $25.  The deserts were brought to your table and of course at our table someone bought a desert so we shared it.  A yummy chocolate trifle is what we ate!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Time

I love this clock! 


This has been one of my most favorite finds for the home.  Today's photo subject is 1 O'Clock.. Here it is. Pretty simple I think!



I wonder what was I doing at 1 O'Clock today.  Oh yeah that is right. I was shopping with a friend at Nordstrom's with her personal shopper. Super fun.  Glad I have her now too! Ready to wear for the auction tonight.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Week of the Auction

Auction

This week is the week of my son's school's auction that raises money for their school. It has been fun being part of the school this year as a parent of a preschooler! I have been able to spend time volunteering (occasionally), donating time to help with the advertisement of the annual green sale, and now being able to work with the preschool classroom students on their project that will be auctioned off this Saturday evening!

The preschool teacher and I collaborated on the project.  She told me what was made in years past and how much money the products brought in.  I set my goals and set them high. I want to bring in at least 200-300$ on this project.  We shall see. Maybe it will bring in more! Wouldn't that be exciting.

We decided to focus on the little hands of the little preschoolers with a focus on the alphabet! We pulled ideas off of pinterest but added a twist.  The website E is for Explore!offered up this little idea that pulled from 26 different blogs (a few items of the 26 were photo shopped) the hand prints.  We decided the lesson would be around exploring the alphabet where each student would create one or two hand print pictures on 8x8 crafting paper (different colored backgrounds).


I then had a friend of mine (thank you Heather) who is a graphics designer by trade, mother 24/7 of two boys, take all 26 creations (scanned to her) and pull them together using a special software program to resize, add lettering, and of course the kiddos names so that I could send to Costco's photo center and order a 24x32 unframed canvas print.  This project would be auctioned off. Take a look!



The kids had a great time. They loved researching these ideas on the iPAD, loved getting their hands messy with paint and they all followed directions really well. It showed because the final product is great!  Everyone who has seen it has made comment as to how lovely it is.  I am excited to see how it does at the auction this Saturday and hope that many of the preschool parents show up to bid on it. I am a proud "mama" of this project and really want to see it do well.  Of course I will bid on it.  This project would be great for any kids room!

The other day ALL of the classroom auction projects were displayed for viewing for this entire week! The idea is to show to those parents during times that they are in the buildings the lovely creations their children had a HAND in creating.  I think ours will fair well! Though I am partial it is different than the others.  It is modern and I would buy it!

Take a look at these projects (please know there are more than one project displayed in each picture).










Thursday, April 26, 2012

Black and White

Day 26 #photoadayApril

Today's photo allowed me to use the black and white setting in my Nikon D90! 


This is Cali girl my yellow Labrador retriever. We have a black one as well named Jake. But when you use the black and white setting when shooting his picture you had better have a TON of light. Otherwise he is just a black blob. I like the softness of her fur in this picture. What do you think?

The Opposite of Up is Down!

Up versus Down

I am always loooking at angles and how to take photos that include depth.  Recently while at the beach I was sitting on our blanket and my husband was standing near me with Little No Two strapped on him in the carrier and I snaped a photo looking up.  I thought to myself how tall he was looking in the lens.



#photoadayApril Day 25 photograph


Today the photo needs to capture "looking down."   It just so happens that while at the beach we took photos looking down at our feet in the water.  Here is that photo.


I have been trying to snap a photo a day but today I was not able to. Work is getting pretty busy and there is lots to do with massive change that we are all bracing for.  Though I carry my camera I was not able to use it. So the next best thing!

Practice Makes Perfect (photos that is)

I have reviewed the many photos I have taken with my Nikon D90 and am encouraged that the more photos and reading I do the better the photographs become.  Sometimes I get lucky! Sometimes it is intentional.  I love the fact that I can delete photos on the spot too and try again. Soon I will be sharing some more easy tips that I have "stumbled" across through my readings and photo challenge. So stay tuned.

As always share some love and leave a comment on the blog!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Did You Know Goggles Come in Different Flavors?

Swim Lessons began!


Yesterday we were super excited to have our oldest son begin swim lessons again! AGAIN. We stopped swim lessons last May (almost one year ago) because of the agonizing time he was having.  Teacher after teacher one night to the next, no consistency for a shy boy does not mix well. So a break we took. AND



YEAH! The first night was a success.  We switched some things up a bit! We signed up for the group lessons at a local gym but at 7pm instead of the 4:30pm.  It was really difficult to get home from work pick the kid up and head to the swim lessons on time. Now with Little No. 2 it really wouldn't work. I am not that super organized yet as a mother.  So seven at night it is. We purchased a new set of goggles that smell like grape flavor. Weird but he liked it!



Secondly, because it is at 7 at night DADDY can make it.  So it would not be so stressful (should there be issues) for me to deal with not one but two kids at the pool! What a help that was.  AND

video

Lastly, my son was requesting to go to swim lessons.  I figured since he was requesting it on his terms, his timeline, he had buy in and we were going to have less issues.  I also figured that he is one year older, and though he still is shy he is used to teachers, substitutes (minimally) and following instructions in a formal setting. He also LOVES being around other kids his age! Let's do this.


During the session he followed all the instructions, he completed tasks and will probably graduate soon to the next level.  He remembered quite a bit from the last time he was there and was able to demonstrate it.  He pouted once or twice towards the end because he didn't want to float on his back again and would have rather popped into the hot tub to warm up.  He jumped in the water with holding hands, without holding hands and even was able to complete 5 bobs with bubbles out of his nose.  A success I tell you.
video


I found myself applauding and smiling and feeling proud. My husband did too! Even Little No. 2 screamed, cooed and smiled during the lessons.  Pretty soon he will be old enough to join in the parent tot class.  Can't wait for that.  So all in all a success.


Lessons Learned


Children will do things when they are ready, despite our efforts to move them forward. We must recognize that as parents to sometimes listen to their behavior as an indicator and make adjustments accordingly.  Children want boundaries, want safety nets, and also want freedom to explore and learn from mistakes.  It is hard to know when to give and take and mostly we do what we can do that makes sense at that time for our children. Sometimes it is wrong and we learn from it and other times it is a success! Till next swim lesson!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

They Are All Important

Question

What are you most grateful for and how would you capture that in a photograph?   That is the subject of today's #photoadayApril challenge by FatMumSlim.  So do you have an answer?  I have pondered this for a few days in order to be prepared to present a cool and neat photo.  I made a list of things I am MOST grateful for and here's what I came up with.



Ten Things Most Grateful For

  1. My husband and two boys
  2. Life (being able to breathe each morning)
  3. New experiences (because they change you somehow)
  4. My faith
  5. GOOD friends (no fake BS please)
  6. My Job (because I am employed and able to provide not like much of the world today)
  7. Flowers (brings smiles to my face and beauty around me)
  8. Time (with my kids to watch and enjoy them grow)
  9. My relationship with my sister ( has grown over the years and she is my BEST friend)
  10. Love (the ability to share that with my family has been priceless)

How do you take photos of these things to represent them? Not sure. AND how do you pick just one?


Monday, April 23, 2012

Vegetables...

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Last years herb garden & cucumbers (2011) (Nikon D90)

 Yesterday I spent some much needed time in my raised beds prepping the garden soil for this years crop. I am fortunate I have two raised beds that I have been able to plant a garden in for the second time since we purchased our home.  I took full advantage of the 80 degree weather, spent some time with my son and our garden tools!
Last year's planted peas (2011) (Nikon D90)

My son is super handy when it comes to using a hoe, shovel, and was so excited to dig in the dirt. I couldn't help but to smile. We even found a carrot from last years crop hiding in the soil. We worked up one bed and began planting the started plants I purchased earlier that day.  Last year I planted seeds, and started plants. This year I put my garden in later than last and decided to be a bit easier on myself.

Last years crop (2011) Camera phone


Lettuce (2011)  Camera phone
We planted the following vegetables:

  • Broccoli
  • Corn
  • Lettuce (Italian mix)
  • Cucumber
  • Lemon Cucumber
  • Snap Peas
  • Beans (green)
  • Roma Tomatoes
I may go ahead and plant some carrots too (by seed). I also already have my herb garden that includes Rosemary, Basil, and Mint. Of course the chive garden is separate and it is full of chives for sure. I swear I can't keep a handle on that garden.  Anyone have any tricks or ideas about what to do with Chives?


#photoadayApril Day 23

Today's photo for #photoadayApril is vegetables. Because my garden isn't completely grown and I don't have any of my own crop to show you I snapped this photo.

Vegetables in my fridge! (Nikon D90)

We always have vegetables in our refrigerator. Carrots, celery, cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, butternut squash and  more.  They all are coming in handy when making baby food for my Little number 2 as well as being there to snack on for Little number 1.  We make sure to eat our veggies daily and are promoting that with our two boys.

More on how our garden is doing throughout the year! Can't wait fresh veggies are wonderful and you can't get more organic than planting them and growing them yourself!