Monday, June 30, 2008

Best Shot Monday- Jump on In

Our next door neighbors have a swimming pool. They are out of town for a couple of weeks so we are watering their plants for them. This also means we get to go swimming whenever we want. We are taking full advantage of this luxury.

I am still having problems getting my shots in focus with my new camera. I really want to start using the manual modes, but for right now it is auto everything. I still liked this shot eventhough it is out of focus.


My son finally got up the nerve to get in the pool. He has been staying on the steps, but Saturday he went for it. Now he is all about swimming. He does not want to take off his shirt or shoes though which is very strange, but whatever works. He would live in his firetruck shirt, if we let him. He asks to wear it every day and gets SOOO excited when it is clean.


miller in the water

My daughter loves fairies and I thought this one was cute.

fairy 2

This one was taken at our house and has nothing to do with swimming, but I am picking it as my best shot. Mainly because both of my kids are actually looking at the camera at the same time.


Melody is hosting Best Shot Monday this week. Check it out.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Menu Monday June 29-July 3rd


Sunday- Pizza

Monday- Scallops and Pasta

Tuesday- Pesto Burgers, Sweet Potato Fries, Green Beans

Wednesday-Pork Chops, Rice, Broccoli

Thursday- Leftovers and Salad

Thursday, June 26, 2008

What I Want

What I want is the topic for Theme Thursday. Hmmmm. I have been pondering this all week. I discovered I have A LOT of things that I want. But can they be reflected in a photo? Well, I am going to give it a shot (no pun intended). This is what I want......

My children to love each other


and play together without fighting


and maybe even share just a little bit


someone to clean my house

clean house

to sleep in until at least 7:00 am


to be able to fly (who doesn't want to be able to fly?)

i can fly

Is that really too much to ask?

Head on over to Stacy's to see what everyone else wants.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Stubby Pencil Studio


I actually won the Stubby Pencil Studio giveaway over at Nature Mom's. Can you believe it? After reading Nature Mom's blog on Stubby Pencil Studio, I confess I ordered some stuff. My thinking of course was I will never win the giveaway. I am a sucker for art supplies and I had ventured to the site a couple of times browsing the selection. I ordered some gourmet scented colored smencils and some watercolor crayons. I received my package within a couple of days and there were even a few little extra goodies in my box. You can't beat that.

Then I received the e-mail telling me I won the giveaway. Yippee!!! Lucky me, huh? Well, again I received my package in a couple of days. You can tell when you open the package that lots of love and care goes into each one. It was loaded with stuff. Just look at this picture.


You can't really see them in the photo, but along the edges are 3 packages of recycled cards that can be colored (like the one in the first picture). So cute. The kids immediately ripped open the softdough and demanded snakes. They love when I roll the dough out to make snakes. It is a good thing it is all natural because my son decided to eat some. They had to open every single smencil and smell it. Those things smell super yummy! We now have the regular smencils and the colored smencils. They are made from 100% recycled newspaper. Thanks to Nature Mom and Stubby Pencil Studio I now have a supply of cards for all kinds of occasions. Plus, plenty of supplies to keep my little ones busy for hours. If you decide to order something from them, I promise you will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

10 Most Challenging Things Going Green

Green & Natural Mom of Little Green Secrets tagged me. She asked me to share 10 ways I am still challenged to be green and also what I have accomplished on my journey. Here they are in no particular order.


We conserve water as much as possible. I have reduced my showers to 5 minutes and we just installed a rain barrel to water our plants. However, our kids love to turn on the faucet to brush their teeth or wash their hands and run the water forever. They are still young so it is hard to make them understand they are wasting water. Since it is so hot outside, they want to play in the baby pool or run through the sprinkler. We try to limit the sprinkler use or strategically place it to water new grass or plants, but sometimes we just let it run in the name of good fun.


I started a compost heap several months ago. Nothing fancy or thought out. I just dumped our kitchen scraps and yard scraps in a pile, stirred it every now and that was it. Well, our dog started getting up in the middle of the night and barking at something. It was driving us nuts. We finally realized some creature was eating the scraps from our compost heap. I stopped adding to the pile and our dog has stopped barking in the middle of the night. Well, I have been to lazy to build a proper compost bin and do more research on how to properly maintain it. There are just so many hours in the day, you know? This is something I hope to do someday. hopefully sooner than later.

We recycle what we can and I recycle at work. However, I am still not quite sure what plastics are really supposed to be recycled at our local center. I have read conflicting information. So most of the time everything with a number gets thrown in. I really hope I am not screwing up the whole process.

Now I always taking packaging into account when purchasing items. Although, I am conscious of this it is still hard to avoid access packaging and waste. Eating take out is probably the worse, but I still do it. I have learned which restaurants are the best as far as this is concerned, but sometimes food and convenience win out.

We now unplug our toaster, coffee maker, hair dryer, and computer when not in use. We always turn off the lights when we leave a room. We never leave the TV on if someone is not sitting in front of it. However, the TV and DVD player in our room stays plugged in all the time eventhough we seldom use it. I have a Smart Power Strip that I need to install on our entertainment system, but have not gotten around to it.

Like the Green & Natural Mom, I like toilet paper and probably use too much. We also use disposable diapers for my 2 year old son who will hopefully be potty trained soon. (wishful thinking I know) However, we do not use paper napkins, plates or paper towels. We use cloth napkins and rags for spills and clean ups.

I really wanted to start using all homemade cleaners. I do use a vinegar, water, soap blend to clean the countertops, but the bathrooms are a different story. I decided to splurge on a store bought"green" cleaner. It works well and does not smell toxic so that is a plus, but I am not 100% sure of its contents. I know it is better than what I was using so that's good. When I am in a hurry, I still use windex on the windows. Using the vinegar blend with newspaper works, but I hate all the grim on my hands as I clean. (I know lame, huh?) Cleaning is definitely a work in progress.


This is probably the biggest challenge to me. I use Skin Deep as a guide when purchasing new products and have done pretty well with deoderant, sunscreen, soap, shampoo, and lotion. Make-up is a completely different ball game. I would like to say I go au naturale, but that is not going to happen. I still use the make up I have always used.


We like to eat out on the weekends and I don't see that changing any time soon. I know it would be more environmentally friendly and healthier to eat at home using locally grown foods. My husband and I have a huge weakness for Pizza and Mexican food. I always think that this might change if I had time and energy to cook, but that is probably not true. I guess only time will tell.


This is one I mull over way too much. I know there are many "green" options out there now for toys, but again convenience often wins out. It is hard to find any of these type of products locally and I like to see and hold the toys or products before I buy them. I know buying used at least for my own kids would be perfectly fine, but I enjoy buying them something new as much as they like getting the new toy. I try to reuse items we already have around the house for gift wrap. We always make our own cards with supplies we have on hand.

I could keep going, but she said 10 things so I will stop now. I can't really say what exactly made me want to "go green". I know it was not one thing or event, but I know I am committed to it. I am going to keep plugging away, making changes every day.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Best Shot Monday- Many Different Ways

I have been having SO much fun playing with my new camera. Once the shot is taken, then what? Since the quality is so much better now, I have not been doing too much editing. There are just some shots that have so much potential. Here is a shot that I took while on a walk last week. I have edited it 3 different ways.

This is straight off the camera.


Changed to black & white, added a border

wagon bw border

Saturated the color a bit, added a vignette and border

wagon pop

Went the other way with the saturation, added vignette and border

wagon soft

Saturated the color a little bit using Microsoft Digital Pro and added a different border.

wagon edited

So what do you think? Which one do you like better? Any suggestions? Maybe I should try to edit out the power lines. I do not see Photoshop in my near future so I am making due with what I have available to me. Advice and criticism is very welcome.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Menu Monday June 22-26

I can't take credit for the photo above. My husband took it.

We had some kind of stomach bug last week so our meals consisted of grilled cheese, noodles with butter, and soup. So you will see some meals from last week making an appearance again this week.

Sunday- Steak, Veggie Burger for me, Foil Wrapped Veggies, Corn on the Cob
Monday- Shrimp with Salad
Tuesday- Spinach Frittata
Wednesday- Basil-Balsamic Pork Chops, Broccolini, Couscous Thursday- Cheese Quesadillas and Pinto Beans

Friday, June 20, 2008

Herb Garden Progress

I wanted to post some pictures of my herb garden, since it is officially thriving. I have some space on one side that I want to fill with a couple of different types of herbs, but I have not decided what I want to plant there yet. I would like to plant some thyme, oregano, and cilantro. I need to do a little research a make sure this combination works ok together.


Caterpillars love my dill plant.


I will probably use the basil the most so I am glad that I have tons of it.


The nasturtium is flowering. It has really taken off.


The dill still looks a little puny, but it's growing. So that's good. The chives are not doing great. It could be because while "helping" me pick weeds my daughter plucked about half of it out. It does look like grass so you can't blame her too much. The borage is growing well along with the parsley. We have had a good amount of rain and that has helped immensely.

I have never been known for having a green thumb, so I feel like this little garden is a huge accomplishment. It gives me hope that I might actually be able to plant a vegetable garden next year.

I also wanted to thank Jaimee for telling me how to post pictures using flickr. What a difference. I knew that I could upload to flickr, but did not know what to do after that. Thanks Jaimee.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Birthday Butterflies

My daughter loves to be outside. She loves flowers, worms, and bugs. After contemplating a couple of different options, we decided to get her the Butterfly Garden for her birthday. I ordered it a couple of weeks before her birthday to make sure we would get it in time. Well, it came 2 days after I ordered it. The box said open immediately contains live butterflies. So much for waiting until her birthday!! Well, the box actually contained live caterpillars. It was really difficult to get a good shot of those little guys. The container housed 5 tiny caterpillars. The gooey stuff you see in the bottom is the food. They munched on that food for about a week. Just like in Hungry Caterpillar, they ate and ate and ate. By the end of the week, they were big fat caterpillars. One by one they migrated to the top and entered the chrysalis or pupal stage. It was incredible to watch the metamorphosis occur right in front of our eyes.

We left them alone for several days. Then we moved them to the butterfly house so they would have plenty of room to fly around once they turned into butterflies. One by one they emerged. We cut up oranges and placed a couple of flowers at the bottom along with some tissue soaked in sugar water for them to eat. The kids really enjoyed witnessing the whole process. My daughter could not wait to let them go free. I think this was because she really want to hold them and touch them.


You can just barely see the butterfly at the top.

letting go

Be free little butterfly. Be free.


Those little guys did not want to come out.

butterfly fingers

She finally gets to hold one. Thanks Daddy!

butterfly finger

What a beautiful butterfly.
close up butterfly

The topic for Theme Thursday is childhood. Learning, discovering, and enjoying all of the little things we take for granted is what childhood is all about.

Fly on over to Stacey's for more great photos.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Only Eat the Blue Ones


As an early Anniversary gift, my parents gave us 2 blueberry bushes and a rain barrel. Do they know me or what? My son loves blueberries and learned really fast to only pick the blue ones.


He ate every single blue blueberry on the bush. My daughter is not a big blueberry fan, but she tried one and so did I. They were delicious. I can't wait to get them planted. I hope they flourish and give us lots of blueberries. It is really cool to be able to use or eat something that you have grown. I used some of my basil last night in a dish I made for dinner. Yeah!!!


We are trying to figure out the best spot for the rain barrel. Once we get it all installed, I will post some pictures. I am really excited about it as well. It is going to be wonderful to use the rain water that collects to water my herbs and our new blueberry bushes.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Living with 100 Things

This weekend my husband shared an article in Time magazine with me that he thought I would enjoy. How to Live With Just 100 Things is the name of the story. The 100 Things Challenge was started by a guy named Dave. Apparently this challenge has taken off and lots of people are joining him to declutter and simplify their lives by reducing personal belongings to 100 things.

The concept immediately intrigued me and I have not been able to stop thinking about it. I am all about keeping it simple, being a minimalist, and purging the junk we accumulate. Not to say that I do not occasionally (ok mostly) contribute to all of the stuff that lives in our house. But in my defense, I am doing better curbing my shopping habit.

We live in a ranch style home built in the 1970's. So the bedrooms, bathrooms, and closets are small. We have to be creative and organized to keep our house in some sort of order. Awhile back I implemented a strategy to help with my closet clutter. If something new goes in, something old comes out. This has helped tremendously. I guess it also helps that I am not a pack rat. I also clean out closets and drawers at least twice a year. If it has not been worn in the last year, out it goes.

I think I could get to 100 things eventually with some work, but I do not think it is necessary to put an exact number to it. The article has given me the urge to clean out the house. It has also reminded me that we do not need that much stuff to live comfortably. Stuff does not make me happy. My kids, my husband, my family and friends, they are what I live for. They make me happy.

My daughter looked at me the other day and said, "Mommy, I am glad God made you my mommy." At that moment I think my heart almost burst. In return I said, "I am glad God made you my daughter." This conversation sums it up for me. These are the moments that help me keep everything in perspective. I am so lucky to be surrounded by people that I love and care about. For now that is all I need.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Best Shot Monday-The Boot

This is my first Best Shot Monday with my new camera. I took a bunch of pictures this weekend, but most of them were taken indoors and my subjects happened to be very active toddlers. This combination does not make for some good photos. I took the picture above at my parents house. If you click on the image, you can see the rain droplets hanging from the curly grass.

Head over to Tracey's for more great photos.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Menu Monday June 15-19

Sunday- Pizza and Salad

Monday- Salmon and Spring Panzenella

Tuesday- Apple Cranberry Pork Loin, Roasted Broccoli, Corn on the Cob

Wednesday-Frittata and Salad

Thursday- Cheese Quesadillas, Pinto Beans, and Rice

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Theme Thursday- A trip to the Zoo

Today's theme is wildlife. We went to the zoo about a month ago so it was easy to find a few to share.

Hop on over to Stacy's for some more great photos.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Because today is my daughter's 4th birthday

I thought I would share some photos she took last night. She decided that she should be able to take pictures with my old camera since I now have a new one. She had a really good time snapping away. Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!!!! I love that you can see her cute toes and Cinderella's head is out of the picture.

Of course she had to get a shot of the Barbie car hanging out in the Tonka truck.

Good angle

Very artsy

More on these guys in another post

I think she might have a future in photography. What do you think?


Related Posts with Thumbnails