Monday, January 31, 2011

Kids Photography

I LOVE giving my kids the camera and letting them take hundreds of pictures! They have such an unique perspective and they are not afraid to lay on the floor or hang from weird positions to get the picture they want. I can't wait to see their pictures and videos when I get the camera back from them. Our point-and-shoot pocket camera has got to be one of the best investments we've made in the last couple years. Here are some of my latest favorites:

This is actually a picture of The Girl. Little Man had the camera this time. When I loaded this photo my first instinct was to delete it, but then I really looked at it. I know no one will know who is in this shot, but I could use it for any number of applications, including as a background for scrapbook page.

For this shot they either set the camera on the floor or one of them got down on the floor. They've seen me lay on the floor for pictures before so maybe I'm rubbing off on them a little :) Now they just need a little primer on the Rule of Thirds.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Knitwit Files Vol 5: Bold Stripes

Just before Christmas I had found some acrylic "fun yarn" at a local discount store. I planned on using it to practice different stitches, but when The Girl saw the purple she immediately claimed it for her next scarf. So I went back and picked up enough black to make a nice long scarf for her. I also picked up a little extra black for an animiguri project that I'm still working on.

The scarf is knitted in straight stitch. It went fairly quickly. The hardest part of the whole project was weaving in all the ends left from switching colors. One of these days I'll figure out how to carry the yarns up the side. I don't care for the texture of this yarn at all. It kept snagging on my bamboo needles. Cheap acrylic yarn is NOT pleasant to work with. I'm glad I only have a couple more skeins of this stuff. I may just use it for the cores of my Japanese Temari balls (see here) that I make and skip the frustrations and unpleasantness of knitting with it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

4x12: January

After reading about this project on the Scrapbook Lady I just knew this had to be one of my new goals for 2011! It is really difficult to get pictures of the kids, but all four of us in one frame?! Where's my wand?....Ridiculous! I made my plans well known to the crew and reminded them several days in a row that I would be rounding them up for a family picture. The picture we took isn't the one I had in mind, but it's still pretty cool. And it documents our family-day trip to the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo this week!

This photo is a good shot of us, but I took an even better picture of The Girl. She wanted to goof around a bit and I was feeling game so I hunkered down on the floor with my little point-and-shoot camera and we had some fun taking goofy pictures. This picture is my favorite :)

Doesn't she look like she's floating?! Just brilliant! :D

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Knitwit Files Vol 4: Mohawk Hat

Little Man's new winter sport hat

Let me first start by saying, I did NOT knit this hat. Little Man saw it (sans 'hawk styling) lollygagging around at Penney's when we picked up his winter coat. Being the "in" thing to wear this season it immediately caught and held his attention. I gave in and bought the silly thing and it laid around the house for some time, getting no use whatsoever.

A couple of nights ago I just couldn't stand it any longer so I gave the poor little dear a bit of a makeover. I picked up some yarn to match the braids and cut about a zillion 4" pieces and stacked them next to my chair. While watching TV I was able to latch hook these bits of string into the stitches of the hat, creating a lovely faux-hawk along the top center. (Any of you fashionistas out there will have seen several of these types of hats available at the local mall.)

No longer a skinny little nothing, this hat now has some major 'tude. Little Man was suitably impressed with his momma's crafting skills. I daresay this hat is about to see a wild and crazy time!

Monday, January 17, 2011

It's Almost Time...

Today we went out to the RV to pull out Little Man's baseball gear. I told him to make sure he grabbed his cleats as well, but he said he outgrew those a long time ago. And since in past years we've gone through 2 pairs of cleats each season, I don't doubt him!

This Thursday we go to the Little League meeting to sign up. As soon as they form the teams they'll begin practicing. Now that there are indoor training facilities available here, they can get a jump on spring and do a lot of drills and batting/pitching training before the season gets underway. And it's a good thing, because...

Baseball is our favorite season of the year!

Friday, January 14, 2011

New YMCA Members!

We joined the gym! yay! The kids have been languishing in front of their TVs and computers for so long, they don't know what "active" means anymore. I've been wanting to start my marathon training so we joined the local YMCA. We went twice this week. Both days the kids played basketball while I did laps around the indoor track. I think joining the gym will really be a huge benefit to making progress on one of my goals this year: getting the family healthy! So here's to many more trips to the gym (and possibly a smaller waistband!)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Last One...

This is it. The last one. I drank the last Dr. Pepper exactly 9 days ago. I didn't even crave it until tonight. I've been wanting one all day. Grrr.... and now I'm having pizza for dinner and nothing goes better with pizza than an ice cold can of Dr. Pepper! It's a good thing there's none in the house and I'm already in for the night or I'd give in and down one in a flash.

Winter Wonderland

The winter weather has been quite active recently. It's left a delightful covering of cotton-ball tufts on the trees and mounds of glistening flakes everywhere else. I find the sight rather diverting. So diverting I have a hard time keeping my eyes on the road! I do love me some winter snow :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Girls Night Out

I love Girls Night Out!

Once a month the girls have been getting together for coffee. Last night's get-together was hosted by Samantha. She made a delicious roast, parsnip-mashed potatoes, a salad, and rolls. It was sooooo good! We always have fun when we get together, and it's even better when we have a good meal. Thanks, Sam! Can't wait for the next GNO!

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Nail Colors!

I am in love with these new(ish - I actually got these last October) nail colors from Avon! From Left to Right: Violetta and Grey Cement (both matte finish), Jade and Vintage Blue (both from the Nailwear Pro line). I love the look of the matte colors, unfortunately, they chip rather quickly. The Violetta even leaves a bit of color behind when it's removed. The Jade is soft and luscious and the Vintage Blue makes my heart beat just a little faster. eeek!

I think I may be a little bit addicted...I want to try some new colors!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Family Day Activities

Yesterday Chad took most of the day off of work so we could have a family day before his trip to Atlanta next week. We decided to surprise the kids with a trip to Strikes and Spares in Mishawaka. They had wanted to go bowling so we thought we'd give them a little bonus. We had so much fun!

The indoor go karts were definitely a big hit! We spent most of our time cruising the track and perfecting our "drifting".

We only played one round of black-light mini-golf. Some of the holes were a challenge, but most of them were fairly easy. I'm sure that's because it's only 9 holes and it has to be little-kid friendly. Apparently, my camera (little point-and-shoot Cybershot) doesn't care for black-light. Oh well.

Then we did some bowling. Chad and Little Man played one round and then went back to the go kart track. The Girl and I bowled a second round and then went to join them.

By the time we'd used up our 3-hour wristband, we were quite worn out. Strikes and Spares is at the top of our Activities list!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Planting the Seeds of Servanthood

Yesterday, The Girl went with her cousins and some friends to volunteer at one of the packing centers for Feed My Starving Children. They packed thousands of bags. Those bags contained a mixture of rice and other nutritious items that could be mixed with boiling water. One bag contained enough for 6 meals.

She came home last night full of information about starving children and how this organization is feeding them all around the world. The bags they packed yesterday were scheduled to be delivered to children in Haiti. It was all she could talk about. And this morning we spent some time looking at their website and looking for more opportunities to volunteer.

The seeds of servanthood, planted so many years ago, have been watered and nurtured once again. And the fruits of this labor of love will bring hope to all the children of the world. Can we ask for anything more?

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Inspiration Station: Upcycled TP Tubes

Project: Recycled TP Roll Wall Art Sculpture
found on flickr

Isn't this amazing?! Who would have thought that the lowly, empty toilet-paper tube could be turned into something so lovely? I think I might start saving those cardboard tubes and have a little fun :)

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

One Little Word 2011

During the days following Christmas I started thinking about what I wanted my word to be for 2011. I didn't have to think long. In fact, it made perfect sense. All ACTION must be followed by some kind of FOCUS. I got the ball rolling with 2010's ACTION. Now I need to keep that momentum going in 2011 and really get FOCUSED on what's most important to all of us.

Obviously I'm going to really FOCUS on my goals list for 2011. My goals list is mostly tangible things, things I can put my hands on, difinitive lines in the proverbial sand, as it were. The following list is (with the exception of #5) made of those things that you can't really put your finger on...but they mean more than anything else to me.

1. Spriritual Walk. I really want to dig in this year. It's time to get back into the trenches. This is war.

2. Family Day. Every week I want us spending quality time together, playing games, going out and enjoying activities together. I want more memories of time spent together, especially now that the kids are getting older and are being pulled away from us by friends and other activities. I'd also like to extend this to family gatherings. I'm thinking every couple months it'd be nice to get the extended family together for a meal and some laughs. It'd be nice to get everyone together throughout the year, instead of waiting for the holidays when we are so consumed with all the happenings of the holidays that we really don't have any time left for just being with each other.

3. Date Nights. Or mornings :) We need to be more intentional about the time Chad and I spend together. We were doing fairly well for a while, having coffee together on Friday mornings. But eventually work, life, etc. started to creep in and we've stopped having those moments together. Time to get out the day-planner!

4. Family Health. I want to continue working towards a healthy, happy family. I got off to a good start with more home-cooked meals last year. I've learned how important it is to have a healthy diet and I want to expand on that. Now, more than ever, I want us to be intentional about eating meals the table! Not having enough space in RV made this difficult. But once we're in a house, with a table, family dinners will make a comeback.

5. Memory-keeping. All the little bits and pieces of our lives need to be organized and tucked away. Time for all those bags and shoeboxes to hit the road. 2011 will be the year of the memory-keeper. The scrapbooks will be full of all the wonderful memories we've made over the years. I plan to get the kids and Chad in on the action as well by having them tell their stories and share their memories. And at the same time, we'll be making new memories!

6. Everyday Moments. Our days are swept by in a swirl of activity: do this, go there, get that, make this...where did the day go? I want to be intentional about how I spend my days. There are no refunds. So I want every day to count and I want to count every day as treasured. Slowing down, ditching the cell phone, walking instead of driving, breathing instead of rushing, savoring the day...this is what I want for 2011 and the rest of my life.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Goals for 2011

Here it is! The 2011 Goals List!

Goal #1: Keep Blogging! I did really well up until the move and computer issues. I think 2011 will be even better, even though I still have no computer and we still need to move into a house at some point! I may even get some iniative and put all my blogs in one place! :)

Goal #2: Marathon! I am absolutely determined to do that marathon. Nothing is going to stop me this time. Nothing.

Goal #3: Family Photo Challenge. I read a blog about a mom that made a point of taking a family photo once a month for the whole year. I think this is a great idea and I'm going to do it. So at some point each month I will beg, bribe, and/or trick my family into a group photo.

Goal #4: Project 365. I will once again be continuing the Project 365 challenge. I've done it for 2 years and I think it helps capture our lives very well. I just hope P365 for 2011 stays caught up. I may change the format to make it a little easier for me this time around.

Goal #5: Webstore. I'm going to continue to develop my webstore. The goal is to have the store up and running by September. If I can't make it happen by then, it'll never happen. Sad, but true.

Goal #6: Debt. We will continue to pay down our debt. It's a sizeable amount, so I know we won't get it all paid this year, but we're going to make a huge dent in it!

Goal #7: Stay Positive! I sometimes let my "pragmatism" get in the way and tend toward the negative. I really want to get away from that. No more sarcasm, no more cynisism, no more. There's no room for negativity here anymore.

Goal #8: Crafting. This year's new skill will be Tatting. I've found several wonderful websites dedicated to Tatting, so I know I'll be able to find help. I'll be slowly acquiring the equipment and then this summer I will begin! I imagine most everyone will get a tatted snowflake for Christmas this year :)

Goal #9: Reading. I'm not going to set a number, because that would take all the fun out of reading. But I do want to read a bit more than the last couple years. So if I make it to 60 or 70 books this year, I'll be happy.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Assessing 2010

My goals list for 2010 was varied and long. I was able to accomplish a few of the items, but most of them are still in progress. 2011 will see the completion of a few more of those goals as well as the birth of some new ones...but I'll post about that later.

1. Blogging. Blogging everyday went really well until my laptop died. I managed to use one of the kids computers for a few weeks until we started the process of moving back to Michigan. With all the hustle and bustle, blogging fell by the wayside. We are still not settled yet, but I've been feeling guilty about my neglected blog, so I thought a recap of 2010 might be a good way to put things into perspective. I still have no computer to call my own, so blogging for 2011 will still be sporadic, though I'm hoping to make a better job at keeping it up this time around.

2. Project 365. Ugh! I really, really tried to make sure I took at least one picture every single day. At first I was upset with myself for missing a day or two, and then a whole span of 11 days went by without a single snapshot. So now I've come to realize that it just wasn't meant to be and I shouldn't beat myself up about it. I haven't printed pictures at all since May. (shudder!) I have been keeping track of my photos and making notes here and there for when I'm ready to assemble the scrapbook, but I'm not nearly as on top of it as I was in 2009. Let's hope 2011 goes a little smoother.

3. Marathon. I started my training right on time. I did very well keeping up, with only a few lazy days. I made it to 15 miles and then we began the very unorganized move to Michigan. Once again my plans to participate in a marathon race have been derailed. But not in 2011! Oh, no! This is the year. I'm doing it.

4. Web Store. I designed the blog header, worked on graphics for the webstore page, even signed up with my store name. I made a handful of objects d'art to sell but never got around to adding them to the site. Again, moving takes a lot out of you.

5. Photo Challenges. Pull out tissue...My Rebel sat in a padded cell for 6 months without a single click of the lens to brighten its days. I didn't take any pictures until Christmas and then it was just normal Christmas stuff. I've had neither the time nor the inclination to participate in a photo sad.

6. Book List. My goal was to double 2009's reading list. I don't think I made it to 82 books this year. I was keeping a detailed list on my laptop, but since it died over 6 months ago I couldn't tell you how many books I've read in 2010. I do know that it's probably very close to the same number as '09. I'm hoping 2011 will see an increase in leisure time for reading as well as better documentation of said reading list!

7. One Little Word: ACTION. The first half of the year saw a lot of action. I was doing quite well with my goals. Moving across the country put a damper on most of those goals, but I still kept them in mind, turning them over, examining them, re-evaluating them. I have a new word in mind for 2011. I'm still mulling it over. I'll let you know what it is as soon as I know for sure that my word choice is the correct one for the new year. That one little word is going to have a huge impact - so it needs to be the right word!

8. Debt. We did manage to pay off the truck loan early, and got rid of one credit card. That was as far as we got. We are still in debt. I seriously dislike being in debt. Debt reduction is still on the goals list for 2011.

9. Homeschool. Things got off to a fairly good start this fall. Even with the moving around the kids were able to maintain their workload. The holidays always set us back, but now that it's the new year, school will once again become our focus. Good things are happening.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

2010 Top 10

In celebration of the last year, here are my Top 10 photos of 2010. Making my "2010 Favorites" file was so fun. The last year has seen a lot of changes for our family. So many good memories here! I'm excited to see what 2011 brings!

This photo is fun because you can see us in the reflection in the left lens of Mickey's sunglasses.

Our home away from home: Winter Garden Little League fields

Little Man at baseball camp, knocking out some batting practice

The Girl's new hair cut, with some fun color :)

Little Man in his All-Star uniform

Friday morning coffee dates

Making the trek north to Michigan

Enjoying the fall colors

The first big snow storm of the year

Playing with Christmas lights