Sunday, November 17, 2013
I had a senior session downtown today. And this is my new favorite setting. I. LOVE. IT. There was something about shooting with all the different colors and textures surrounding me that felt… right. I will be back, for sure.
These apple slices are headed directly into the Thanksgiving pie. Mmmm.
standing on autumn.
One of my favorite sounds is the crunch of fall leaves underfoot. I love to drag my feet through the leaves, sweeping them along the sidewalk, listening to the sounds of the season.
At school today they had a pumpkin drop. The kids worked in groups to build a protective contraption for their pumpkins. The principal took them up to the roof of the school and dropped them one by one. The group David was in was one of five that survived the fall. As you can see, he was very excited. That's good engineering, right there.
my favorite skyline.
The fam took a day trip to Chicago to visit the Museum of Science and Industry. The kids loved it, we all had a blast. The thing is, though, my favorite moment of the day is seeing the skyline. Oh, that skyline.
It's one of my favorite days of the year. The library book sale. Squeal! Books - GOOD books - for 50 cents or a dollar. An hour at this sale, a new stack of books to read and I am one happy girl.
trick or treat.
Watching my kids trick or treat today, hearing them say thank you, seeing their excitement over tiny candy bars...it reminds me how fleeting time is. I adore my little ninja and my cute Pikachu. Quick, before they grow up.
cup of water.
Today I had NOTHING. No inspiration, no motivation. So while the kids were eating their dinner after karate class, I asked them what should be my Photo of the Day. David said, how about my cup of water? Ummm… ok. So it was.
walking down the street.
At first glance, this is a lovely photo showing the wide range of fall colors in our front yard. Various shades of green, bright red (I love that tree!), a little burgundy, yellow and orange. But as you keep looking, you might notice the real reason that the picture was captured… those are turkeys walking down the street. TURKEYS. In our suburban neighborhood.
This sweet, cuddly cat is the reason I didn't get any laundry folded. Yep, it's all her fault.
and they're off.
What a good feeling it was to deliver this box to the post office. Box Tops for Education, on their way to the mothership.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Samantha made her first independent purchase today. Cash in hand, she picked out the gum she wanted and paid the cashier, even telling her how much change she needed back (smarty pants). After we got to the car, she proceeded to stuff her mouth with as many pieces as she could fit. And I let her.
fall tomato bisque.
It's fall. Our tomatoes are finally coming in, haha. It has cooled off and Mother Nature has been begging for a nice warm bowl of my tomato bisque. It was perfect. Next stop, blanket and couch.
HOMEMADE TOMATO BISQUE
Roast a bunch of thin sliced tomatoes on a cookie sheet (or two) with the garlic, salt and oil.
Put in to food processor.
Add milk/cream and basil.
Heat on stove if you want it warmer.
P.S. I have no measurements, I just add "to liking". You really can't mess this up.
P.P.S. One sheet of tomatoes is good for one big bowl or two small bowls.
three monkeys go on a hike...
It was such a beautiful (warm!) fall day. The kids were off school and the park was calling our name. We met our friends and went for a hike. First things first, everyone had to find their walking sticks. There, that's better.
I asked them to turn around for a picture and this is what they did, in unison. And let me tell you, they are posed to perfection - those are precisely their personalities. What monkeys!
Today, Samantha needed to clean her room if there was any hope of playing on her 3Ds, my iPhone, the computer or any piece of electronic equipment in a 50 mile radius. She did a great job putting away books, crafts, puzzle pieces, origami, Pokemon cards, drawings, markers, and more of who knows what. Then I turned around and saw this. Technically, the blankets were cleaned up. They just got stuck in a pile (taller than her!) en route to the shelves.
apple of my eye.
Soccer game. Apple picking. Perfect day with my family.
another tooth bites the dust.
And what do you suppose follows a day of apple picking (and eating)? Another tooth lost, that's what! One more and David will officially be going to Halloween as a jack-o-lantern.
my personal greeting committee.
This weekend we almost did it. We were THISCLOSE to getting a dog. You see, I think I may be having the mom version of a midlife crisis. When practicality and realism returned and told us not to do it (yet) I nearly cried. We are smartly waiting until we pay things off, fix things up and the weather turns to Spring. I hate being smart.
This morning when I came home from delivering the kids to school, my neighbor's dog, Fiona, ran around to the side of the house to greet me as I got out of my car. If she's outside when I come outside/arrive home/walk down the street, she runs to greet me. Every time.
Someday I will have my very own personal greeting committee.
crockpot apple oatmeal.
photo taken around 11:45 p.m.
I don't think I've ever turned my crock pot ON at almost midnight. It felt weird but let me just say that it was totally, 400% worth it. I love me a bowl of oatmeal on a cold fall or winter morning. But this. THIS. This was a whole new level of oatmeal. Next time I'm doubling the recipe.
CROCKPOT APPLE OATMEAL
2 apples, sliced
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. oatmeal
4 c. water
Throw apples, brown sugar and cinnamon in the bottom of the crock pot.
Pour oatmeal and water on top. Do NOT stir.
Cook overnight for 8 - 9 hours on low.
Enjoy those smells first thing in the morning. Mmm.
(The recipe came from this Pin on Pinterest but the link leads to a dead-end page.)
my view right now.
I sent out my business's newsletter today. I always like to add a photo tip - something simple that anyone can achieve. Today's was really fast and easy... a good reminder no matter what kind of photographer you are or aren't.
Which is the best camera you own?
The one you have with you.
Now go use it. Go take a picture of what you're doing, looking at, thinking about. Go capture your day.
And this picture of my dining room table, laptop and morning beverage was what I saw as I wrote.
P.S. Want to get on the list for this fabulous newsletter? Click here and sign up.
one red leaf.
These shrubs line the front of our house. They are always green, even in the fall. In the middle of our front yard is a beautiful, giant Sugar Maple tree that, every fall, turns amazing shades of yellow and orange, leading to the grand finale of brilliant, flaming red leaves.
I was leaving the house this morning and a single red leaf had blown over to rest in these shrubs. There is no other story behind this photo except to say how amazing the colors are and how this bold contrast of nature caught my attention.
who will sit here?
I arrived early for a session so I took advantage of the extra time. I actually really like this shot. The chair, the leaves, the fall, the quiet.
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
back at it.
Following a couple of crazy weeks off-schedule, we are back in our usual positions. Kids, in karate class. Me, with a magazine in my lap.
What started as tiny little plants, spaced out way too far, ended up as a lovely, bursting, fall treat. Mounds of daisies overflowing our front flower garden. Cascades of yellow and orange pouring over the sidewalk. This lucky bloomer possessed the perfect combination of flawless petals and speckles of dew so she got to be my model this morning.
The fog seemed to be falling rather than lifting this morning. I noticed that fact on my way home from bringing the kids to school. So I sped up. I didn't want to miss this photo op! I literally ran from my car, to my front door, through the house (with my shoes on! omg!) and back out with my camera strapped around my neck. This was my favorite shot from the several I took. I was standing right at the edge of my driveway.
I read something today. (Insert joke.) Seriously. It was one of those lists ticking off all the things moms need to let go of. "Tips for a Worn-Out Mom." This is the one that stopped me in my tracks:
17. The crayons will break and it is okay to throw them away rather then save them to make some sort of craft that involves the hair dryer. In fact, I give you permission to not feel guilty about all the crafts you know you will never do.
I am not kidding when I tell you that I walked into my craft room, reached up to the top shelf in the cabinets and pulled down this bowl of half-crayons that I had been saving for said imaginary crafts. After photographing it (natch) I tossed those puppies right in the trash. FREEDOM!!!
worldwide photo walk.
Today was Scott Kelby's Worldwide Photo Walk. We were representing the Milwaukee branch of the walk. And it was totally, completely, 110% foggy. Some people would complain, but I looked at it as a challenge and a rather unique experience. It's not every day you're out at a city park in the FOG. Taking pictures.
I captured some really dramatic, ghostly and muted images. Truth be told, by the end of the walk, I was completely over all the fog. But it was fun while it lasted. Which was all day.
This is one of my favorites. A mild mix of white fog and fall color with a clean reflection in the water. And then the scenery fades away...
touchdown taco dip.
It has been years since I made this dip. Today, it made its way back into the Sunday Football Snack Rotation.
Well, sadly, it may have tasted good but the "touchdown" part of it didn't quite work.
1 can (9 ounces) refried beans
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sour cream
1 tbs. taco seasoning mix
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 medium tomato, seeded and diced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 c.pitted black olives, sliced
1 tbs. finely chopped fresh cilantro
1. Spread beans on bottom of small baker.
2. Mix cream cheese, sour cream, taco seasoning and garlic.
3. Spread mixture on top of beans.
4. Sprinkle with grated cheese.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
6. Top with tomatoes, onions, olives and cilantro.
apple pumpkin cider.
Sometimes I just looove my husband's job. He interviewed a client today and came home with this beautiful bottle. And wouldn't you know it, we just HAPPENED to have some apple cider in the fridge.
1.5 parts pumpkin happy-juice
4 parts apple cider
we've got wood.
We had a giant load of wood delivered this weekend. So now, fine people, we are ready. Bring on the cold. We are prepared with a well-stocked fireplace.
It was 75 degrees today, by the way. Kind of like getting a new toy you can't play with.
Friday, October 04, 2013
I love getting mail (not bills though, duh). I love it even more when I get new books in the mail. And better than that - new books that aren't even released yet! Adriana Trigiani is one of my favorite authors and she has a new novel coming out in November. But I have it now. Nannynannybooboo. (Thanks to my favorite little bookseller in Nebraska!)
It was pitch black outside but this little Evil Cat was intent on watching SOMETHING out there (chipmunk?). Who knows how, because all I could see was her reflection in the glass door. So naturally, I took a picture of my reflective, pensive and fickle feline... so it would last longer.
fall tv sneak previews.
This is my lucky week. First I get an Advanced Readers copy of a book. Then I get a DVD from NBC with a preview of some of their fall shows. Then I got a chance to blog about it here. How cool am I? For now....
drinking and counting.
I had a load of Box Tops to bring home today. I sat down at my dining room table with a large glass of wine and got to counting. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6..... Oh, this may take a while.
We had a super time at the first ever Outdoor Movie Night at our school. They sold "tree-shirts" and snacks and drinks. David hung out up front with his buddies and watched the movie with popcorn and ring pop in hand. Samantha, who is not a fan of watching movies, played on the playground the whole time. She somehow ended up with a glow stick on every joint and limb. We had no trouble spotting her - our sweet little TRONgirl.
this is serious business.
Happy birthday to my baby girl... who is turning TEN. Who clearly takes making wishes very seriously. Hope it's a good one!
One of Sammie's birthday presents was this set of magnets in different shapes. She ripped open the box and immediately started in on the most difficult project in the booklet. And.... she did it. Wow.
Today I got THIS in the mail. A coveted invitation to become a Nielsen Family and contribute to the ratings collection process. Me, a fanatic TV viewer. It was too good to be true. Aha, because it was. We are not eligible to participate because of my husband's job. Boo. However... I do enjoy eating every day. So, I guess YAY! it is.
she's a ten.
She is perfect and beautiful.
She is brilliant.
She is funny.
She is quirky and unique.
She is my daughter.
She's a ten.
And today, she is ten. Double digits, no turning back now.
credit card math test.
I was out with a friend tonight. (WHAAAT???) Wait, that's not my point.
When we got the bill, to our surprise, there was a math test on it! Weird, right? I'm afraid I may not be allowed back in that bar, after my commentary on the bill. (Well, I passed, didn't I?)
socks on strike.
My husband and I have a running joke about the socks that pile up, unmatched and not folded. Well, it's more his joke than mine. I'm the one who folds them and it happens to be one of my least favorite jobs, outside of cleaning toilets.
Today, I woke up to find that the socks had officially gone on strike. It will only take one dedicated individual to bring them all together in peace and unity, ready to do their jobs. Who will it be?...
I love fall. There are a million reasons why (the colors! the coffee! the clothes!) but slippers may just top the list. Once fall creeps around the corner, with its cooler temperatures, it also becomes slipper season. Nothing beats walking around the house in fake shoes that are made purposely to keep your feet warm.
PS Notice I have no socks on... they must still be on strike.
It's that time again for my little guy. Cub Scout popcorn is for sale! Today David and his buddy Aidan sold popcorn at the grocery store. They totally rocked it! When I stopped by, I was somehow magically persuaded into a canister of caramel corn. A sucker is born every day.
The Breaking Bad series finale is one tonight. Pat and I watched all 5 seasons in two months. We are psyched for the finale.
During the day today I made pasta sauce from our garden tomatoes. After it cooked, I ran it through the blender to get the rid of the chunks of tomato. I took one look at the mess in and around the blender, splashed across the counter, and all I could think of is.... this pasta sauce is in honor of Walter White. Ewwww.
Once ripened, these habañeros are truly, the hottest pepper on the planet. Eat, touch and smell with extreme caution. But they sure are pretty. Wow, the color!
On the upside, the deer, squirrels and chipmunks do not seem to like these. More for my husband. (Which may not be a good thing.)
Tuesday, October 01, 2013
September was my month. The kids go back to school. We all get a fresh start. Fall was on the verge of emerging. My work was on display at Starbucks. Just look at those beautiful people. Sometimes I can't believe that *I* captured those images.
We had no idea what would await us in our garden upon returning from vacation. As it turned out, not a whole lot. One big tomato, a bunch of cherry tomatoes and a load of jalepenos. Our garden has been questionable for a few years. Maybe it's time to take a break? (Noooo!!!)
This photo was actually an test for me - usually I like to capture bolder, cleaner colors. These pepers and tomatoes were a mixed bag, with absolutely no order. The colors are ok but it doesn't do anything for me. I'll try it again another day "my way" and see what I come up with.
back to school, baby!
After weeks of hearing about all my friends' kids going back to school, it was finally our turn! Hooray! Today was the first day of fifth grade and second grade for my kiddos. They are going to totally rock this school year. (Or else.)=
Even though I joke about what a relief it is to send them off to school, it truly is a bittersweet day. This summer was particularly busy and fun and ENJOYABLE. Sometimes I wish I could keep my babies home with me forever. But alas, I would be no good at teaching them math. So off they go to the professionals. Buh bye, my little ones, don't let the door hit you.....
PS In the picture, Sam is wearing the best t-shirt EVER. It has a periodical table on it and it says, "I wear this shirt... periodically." LOL!
the pepper not taken.
Two bowls, divided... and I chose the bowl on the left.
Had I chose the bowl on the right, I would have needed a mouth transplant. Ouch. That's a lot of peppers.
And tell me this is not a better, more eye-pleasing photo of a bunch of tomatoes and peppers? SO much better. Clutter and disarray is not my thing.
September is a month of recharging, re-starting and gathering yourself together and putting the pieces back together. September is like January's little sister. A little re-boot, but not the whole she-bang. There's no confetti or party horns on September 1. We do get a holiday called Labor Day, but it's a little buzz kill since not everyone is off work. And it's likely that you are cleaning your house on Labor Day. Which defeats the purpose of having a holiday at all.
Either way, new year or not, on September 1, Pat and I made a plan to begin again, recharging our goals. The first thing on our list was to pay off some bills that had been hanging over our heads. Consider it done! Count em - that's FOUR envelopes in the mailbox. Dave Ramsey would be proud.
calendar fail. or is it?
The point of a calendar is to keep up to date. So with that thinking, turning to September 5 a day late would be considered a calendar fail. However, upon reading what was posted on yesterday's page, it turns out, ironically, that I have succeeded! Hooray! Finally! All my procrastination has paid off!
tosa fest 5k.
The Tosa Fest 5K was tonight. The only 5K where there are no bathrooms within miles of the starting line and "downhill only" is code for "uphill". We finished, hills be darned.
baby's first bears game.
Today was the day. My son became a... echem, he became an official, real deal Bears fan. He attended his very first Bears game at Soldier's Field. He was so excited I feared his cute little head might pop off when we showed him the tickets.
Whatever team you support, just imagine your seven year old child having his first, mind-blowing NFL experience. Live. And in person. The boys had such a great time. They returned home talking a mile a minute. It was one of those days that neither will forget any time soon.
I love my morning running path. Sure, it's not a beautiful, sparkly coastline, a lovely wooded path in the forest or a road winding through the mountains. But every time I run this route through my neighborhood and down a fairly busy street, about halfway through, the rising sun is there to greet me. Seeing a new day begin is enough to get me through the rest of my run and start my own day in a positive light.
hot day = froyo afternoon.
Today was a hot one. The kids were pretty warm all day at school. There is only one solution for that predicament. Frozen. Yogurt.
We went to Yo Mama! after school. The kids get something different every time - David is always chocolate themed and Samantha always leans tart and sour (gummy bears, sour patch worms....). Meanwhile, I just noticed today that every time I am offered pretty much any topping on the planet, I always go with the same ones. Hot fudge, raspberries and some variation of crumpled cookies or candy. Consistency is my middle name, I suppose.
In related news, the picture I took found its way back to Yo Mama!.... somehow or other, they shared my Instagram photo on their Facebook page. They even called it "beautiful". Oh, I'm blushing.
cat on the counter.
EC is not one of those cats who sleeps on top of the refrigerator or jumps onto the tables to hang out. It could be that she is too darn lazy (probably), or maybe we taught her well (unlikely). Tonight, in a move that was completely out of character for her, she jumped onto my craft room counter and made herself comfortable. One half of my brain went, "Oh, my! The cat does not belong there! Get her down! My stickers will get fur on them!" The other half of my brain took one look at my sweet little cat and grabbed my camera. Heart beats logic. Meow.
As fall creeps over us, I know my outside running days are numbered. I prefer not to run in the dark as we don't have sidewalks and the mornings are already so dark. To have enough light to go out this morning was a treat. A very appreciated treat.
Yes they do, Cranky Al. Yes they do.
Today I had a lovely assistant with me. My daughter Samantha. Who spent all my money. :)
If you're going to buy a flower bouquet for a man, why not make it a bouquet of ornamental hot peppers? Sweet Sam made this choice and I couldn't have picked it better myself. Happy birthday, Pat! Hope you had a spicy day?