Sunday, January 27, 2013

The "School" Album

Played a little this weekend which allowed me to get some school photos scrapped and put into the album.

Fourth grade - *check*
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Fifth grade - *check*
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A little DIY (Thanks, Pinterest!)

I suppose this would fit into the "Saw It, Pinned It, Did It" category.

We have a problem with multiple cup usage and leave a cup wherever in our house. "Is this my cup?" "I don't want HIS germs." usually turns into more than one cup sitting around belonging to any given boy on any given day and results in a full top shelf of a dishwasher.

When I saw this on Pinterest, I had to pin it! Pinned Coaster Tray That was a few months ago or weeks... time gets away from me. I hadn't forgotten about that coaster tray though. I remembered it every night when I walked around the house corralling cups for the dishwasher.

Today, I went to Goodwill to drop off a donation box of stuff I've been gathering. I almost just left the parking lot after dropping it off, but that would never work. I parked and went inside determined not to buy ANYTHING unless I had a specific use in mind for it. I walked out with two things. The item pictured below and a pack of soap trays or holders - whatever those little things are that are plastic/rubber and have suction cups on them where you put your bar of soap.

I spent $1.96.

As I was pursing the kitchen aisle chastising myself for even walking down that aisle with all the dishes and cups and mix matched things, I spotted this.
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In its former life, I think it probably held one of those long rectangular candles. But, you know where my mind immediately went, don't you? Yep, coaster tray! I knew it was small and would only hold two, but I guesstimated that the tiles I had stashed away in my craft room would work on here.

I came home and cleaned up the once upon a time candle holder. Then, I dug out the tiles. They fit into the tray area! I stamped the images on the tiles using clear stamps and StazOn ink, then laid them in the tray and called it done. The negative space around each coaster makes me question what I could do to fill it, but there is something I really like about that negative space. For now, I'm leaving it. I'll worry about it after I've trained my children to actually use this coaster tray!
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Total cost for this little DIY project was a whopping $0.98 since everything else I used was bought years ago and had been camping out in my stash since then.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Caught my eye

I would love to take a walking photo tour of New York and just take the time to stop and photograph everything that catches my eye without being rushed along to catch up with the family seeing other sights. I think one could spend days in the city doing such things. What a wonder it would be to go through the images of that memory card.

Yesterday, I grabbed my older camera, my Canon Xti and my nifty fifty lens because I knew it would be lighter while walking around. I regretted it the moment we stepped foot on the sidewalks of New York. First, I had to remember how to actually use the camera! Then, I remembered that the nifty fifty isn't the best walk around lens. Yikes.... chalk it up to I'll remember next time! Despite all those odds that were a little against me, I was still thrilled with the photos that I took.

When we left the park, we ventured east on our journey to FAO Schwartz. Along the way, several things caught my eye. These lights marking the entrance to the subway caught my eye.
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These were taken within seconds of each other. I love the differences in the two images!
I wasn't sure which one I liked better, the one that was lit or the one that the bulb was out.
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I'd never seen anything like them. G-Dub and I comment every time we're in the city that the architecture there is like nothing we've seen before. We're not just talking about the new and modern buildings. We are talking about the architecture that has been there for decades, maybe even centuries. What an experience!

We *heart* NY!

I have to get a t-shirt on one of these trips!

Monday, January 21, 2013

NYC and Central Park

Living this close to NYC, we really should go more often. It had been a while since we went into the city, but we decided to take another day trip this weekend. We hadn't been to Central Park yet and it was on our bucket-list for New York. It's in so many movies, we wanted to say "We've been there!" the next time we caught glimpses of Central Park in a movie.

We had originally thought we'd be able to take in Chinatown and Central Park but we got a later start to our day and just decided to do Central Park and another stop then call it a day.

We took our usual way into the city and began at Port Authority Bus Terminal. From there, we took our first trip on a NYC subway. Though we'd traveled all over Seoul via subway, something about all the English signs and stops we could pronounce was intimidating with the NYC subway. But, we conquered it like pros!
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You just have to know where you're going and not lose your sense of direction when you get below street level. That isn't always easy, especially for my pilot/technical plan it all out husband who goes by what he knows and sees on a map or gps. I go by what I feel. I felt we needed to go "this" way and then crossed my fingers and hoped for the best once we scanned our single pass tickets going to board the rail train. Whew! I was right both trips! Thankfully, or I'd never heard the end of it! :D

We took the rail to the American Museum of Natural History where we crossed the street and entered the park at 79th St which was Mid Park on the west side.
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We decided that the museum might be one of our next visits. We, being the boys, because I had mentioned that we needed to see an art museum sometime!
Culture ok? Culture, not just history. We saw history last summer in DC!
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My youngest and I had looked at sights in the park the night before and had a little list of things we wanted to check off from Mid Park to the south. There were a lot of bridges and archways to see. And ponds, lakes, forest paths, and rock formations that put you in mind of the Adirondack mountains of New York. They were so beautiful and peaceful at times you forgot that you were in the middle of the largest metropolitan area of the United States.
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Belvedere Castle was one of the stops on our list.
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Its turret is the highest point in the park with spectacular views!
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Another spot in the park that we had on our list was the Alice in Wonderland statue.
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We watch American Pickers. Frank and Mike picked the paper mache prototype to the cat in this statue once.
We thought hey, let's see the statue and check out the cat in the park!
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We saw the Boathouse which reminded me of more than a few movies. 27 Dresses came to mind along with Stuart Little.
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Under the arches of the above photo, we found these two guys playing classical music. It was mesmerizing to stand there and listen to them play.
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Passing through we discovered a bride and groom in the midst of a photoshoot. What a lovely setting for portraits!
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We found more street performers on the other side. These guys had quite a crowd gathered for the stunt of jumping over a group of people! They were so funny and had their act together!
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The park was beautiful, we strolled through for several hours and really enjoyed ourselves.
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We finally reached "the city" and were amazed all over again at the differences in landscape from one side of the street to the next.
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Though this is the middle of winter, the park was still beautiful. I can only imagine the wonder of it during the spring, summer and fall!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Once Upon a Time, I was a

Scrapbooker. Do you think it's true that once a scrapbooker, always a scrapbooker? Is that even a word? My spell check keeps underlining it, so who knows?

Somewhere along the way, I stopped scrapping. I kept taking zillions of photos, but stopped doing anything with them other than looking at them on the computer screen. I rarely even print photos. Terrible, huh? What good is our lifetime of memories if they are only available on a computer screen in folders I have organized and I'm the only one that looks at them? These thoughts don't really hold up because NO ONE looks at the scrapbooks I started years ago. But, that's not the point. I documented those memories and they are in a "I can hold it in my hand and flip through it to share" format.

The thought of "getting caught up" is daunting and not really one that is even achievable in my opinion. But, when I organize things and take photos of events, then the kids come home with stuff from school, I get overwhelmed for a whole other reason. Artwork for example. I don't want to throw away EVERYTHING! I want to keep some memories. I have to remind myself that my children are boys and not apt to be as sentimental about some things as I am. But, I do have a sentimental spirit in my youngest. This is the child who takes in all the toys that Teen no longer wants and wants to keep them in case Teen changes his mind someday! ACK!

All of these thoughts ping around in my head often times giving me feelings of guilt. A few years ago, Project Life layouts caught my eye. What a wonderful way to document your life mostly worry free. I say mostly because it would drive me crazy if I got behind on that, but I am not one to follow schedules or work chronologically anyway, so I'd be destined for doom if I even began that project! Something about the page protectors and the freedom of "mixing it up" appealed to me though. I decided that maybe that would be a good way for me to document our life events and get those every day sort of photos printed. (You know those that you took, but often felt weren't scrap worthy? because something was in them that wasn't just right?) Plus, it would give me an easy way to preserve other things that come into our home. (Like artwork from art class, tickets from the theater, etc.)

Will I follow a schedule? No, not me.

Will I try harder to preserve the memories going beyond just snapping the shutter button on my camera? Yes! I'm going to try!

I've worked on a few things this week. I'll just share one subject matter today so that I'll have blogging material for another day. ;)

Son2 has always been my creative spirit. He enjoys art and getting into creative mode with me. (He also enjoys helping G-Dub in the garage while taking anything apart and putting it back together.) When he came home last year with the note stating that his artwork would be displayed at the mall with others from our school, he was so excited and proud! I was at the mall for Teen's band concert and so I was able to see the artwork on display. After it was all said and done, the artwork came home and went into my "Keep" pile of papers. It got shuffled around to multiple piles and then I finally decided this needs to be preserved. I put it into a sleeve protector and added it to the album. This week, I put the photos into a Project Life page protector with the story to go along with them.

(I need to find a better way to photograph these sheets. The reflection of the page protector makes it hard to get a great photo.)

And inside the book:

Memory Preserved. :)

Friday, January 4, 2013

One of my favorite "gifts" from Christmas

One of my favorite things to bring home with me after visiting our family in Mississippi is pecans! When we were living in Korea, I missed things from my parents' garden that they'd always share with us on our trips home. You can't really keep corn and peas frozen across continents like you can across state lines. But, Mom did find a way to share pecans with us for those two years. I went to the post office one day to retrieve a Priority Package and was delighted to discover it was filled to capacity with pecans they'd picked up, had cracked and picked out, then shipped to us! How awesome those surprises were!

Pecans... Yum... I use them in baking. I roast them. I eat them by themselves. I love having them as a staple in my pantry. They don't last long though because we all love eating them by themselves. I've been known to walk to the freezer, grab a handful and enjoy them as a snack. G-Dub too. The only thing I don't like about pecans is buying them in the store. Ack... seriously? Why so expensive? And, yuck... not fresh.

Generations old pecan trees on family property to the rescue! Well, these particular trees are actually on the property of The Old House Place which was my grandparent's property. For the last thirty years, that portion of the family land remained in the family, owned by my uncle. A few years ago, he sold his half of the land, in turn selling the old home place. :( Much of the twenty five acres that were once his was divided and sold as home plots. A few new houses have popped up forever changing the landscape as I've known it all my life. For some {fortunate} reason, 'the old house place' as Mom calls it, has never sold. The pecans fall to the ground unclaimed by anyone. That's where my dad steps in and asks the person who owns the property if he can have them. The answer has been always been yes.

During the past few months in phone calls to my parents, Dad has been talking about this year's pecan crop. He'd let me know if he'd found any or if any of the family trees had any on them. He'd talk about "putting an order in" with a friend who wasn't going to use the pecans from her trees. When we arrived to their house just before Christmas, I passed three five gallon buckets almost full of freshly cracked pecans. Dad said, "I've got a job for you while you're here!" I gladly accepted that job! We sat around and visited while picking out pecans. They pick them from the ground, then take them to a local pecan place (where they sell pecans. Or you can bring your own in and they'll run them through their contraptions to crack them for a small fee.) All you have to do is pick them out of their shells. I tried to snap a photo, but it was dark in the room and I had my iPad, so the photo is ick, but you can sort of tell what we started with.
When we finished, we had six gallon sized ziploc bags full of pecan halves and pieces.

A few days after Christmas, Dad said he was going up to gather a few pecans to feed the squirrels. He came back and told me that they were plenty still up there if I wanted to pick up some more. Um, are you kidding? Sure! So, he and I went up there with two five gallon buckets and spent some time gathering pecans off the ground.
We had a little help, but for the most part, we did it the old fashioned way since these were the last of the harvest and you had to watch to make sure you were getting good pecans, not ones that the birds had pecked or that had began to rot.
When I got out of bed the next morning, I wanted to cry my thighs hurt so bad from the bending and gathering. It was all worth it in the end though. I came home with twelve gallon sized bags full of fresh pecans! I had to rearrange some things in my freezer to make room for them all! I can't wait to start using some in the kitchen. Or just eating them! I need to go weigh a bag so I can see what a treasure I truly have. At $8 a pound that the store has been selling them, my freezer is probably full of a small pecan fortune!