Friday, January 29, 2010

3 ring circus

I thought I was busy when the campground was open and I was doing photoshoots.

I thought I was busy when I got a bunch of book orders all at the same time.

I thought I was busy when the kids started school
- in two different districts.

I thought I was busy when we started helping with more park programming.

This week we added speech therapy for Julia twice a week at an entirely different school and it's official -

I might as well join the circus.

Good thing I already know how to juggle*.

What are you juggling right now?

* A babysitter taught me to juggle when I was ten.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Alphabitty Moments - The letter N

Who knew that the letter N was going to give me so much grief!? But then I saw these pictures of Julia from last year and just knew. No More Tangles. Her hair isn't always in perfect ringlets. This is our norm. It's wild - it's unruly. We live in a constant state of seeking No More Tangles. (We don't actually use Johnson's&Johnson's No More Tangles Shampoo - We use California Baby to avoid harmful chemicals)

What little moment do you want to remember that starts with the letter N?

You can post a link to your Alphabitty Moments post in the MckLinky below. Some people do a scrapbook page each week, but this was not one of those weeks for me. Next week will be. Why do I know that? Um....because I thought we were on the letter O so I did designed that page earlier today. sigh.....

Monday, January 25, 2010

My Birthday Wish

Today is my 33rd birthday. So far I've celebrated by cleaning the kitchen, vacuuming, and washing clothes.
My birthday happened to fall on a Monday - the day we set a few hours aside for me to do some of the cleaning that I just don't have time for during the work week. I love it.

I get that immediate sense of accomplishment. I see results. I finished a task.
Oh how that makes my heart happy!!!!! In my line of work it can be months before I can check a project off my list. All the while it nags at me and weighing me down like a ton of bricks that projects are waiting for me. Don't get me wrong, I love love love my job, but I also love that instant gratification that comes with checking something off my list. So when Mondays roll around I am happy to pick up my dust cloth or a basket of laundry....even on my birthday.

I don't have any great birthday reflections for today....maybe another day. Instead I want to share my birthday wish with you dear readers. What I want for my birthday this year is to hear from you. How did you happen to find me here in BearCountry?

I will donate 17 cents (enough for one meal through Feed My Starving Children) for every person that leaves a comment on this post in the next 24 hours. (FMSC is the same organization I blogged about last week when 39 bloggers packed meals for FMSC.)

And now it's time for the rest of my birthday celebration....the kids are helping me make frosting for a cake. We'll see how much of it makes it onto the cake......

Thursday, January 21, 2010

How to post bigger pictures in Blogger - 8 easy steps

Oh how happy I am that I figured out how to post pictures bigger in blogger without having to use an outside hosting site! And because I wish I could have avoided using trial and error for 3 years to figure it out, I want to share this valuable information with YOU!

This topic is important to me as a photographer and for this reason: Did you know that if you want to create Blurb blog book (or hire me to do it for you) that you will more than double your work if you host pictures outside of your blogging platform or if you use LiveWriter to compose your posts?

So what's the secret that will save you time and a whole lotta hastle?

1) Upload your picture to blogger (chose the large size)
2) click on the 'edit Html' tab (If you can see your photographs that means you are in 'compose' mode - you need to be able to edit the code to increase the size of your images.)

***It should be obvious, but this method only works for the wide column templates....sorry i can't help with other sizes, this is the only way I know that works.***

3) look for the numbers that I highlighted in a portion of the photo code below (Note: much of the code has been deleted, but this should suffice for finding the three numbers you have to change.)

width: 400px; height: 267px;" src="" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_" border="0" />/a >

4) Subtract the purple number from the red number. 400-267 is 133. (This number can vary depending on the size of your photo. Don't worry if your numbers are different. What's important is that you get the ratio correct.)

width: 400px; height: 267px;" src="" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_" border="0" />/a >

5) Change both of the 400's to 800's (keep the 'px' and 's' intact)

6) Subtract the result of step #4 from 800 In my case, 800-133 is 667.

7) Replace the purple number with the result from step #6.

8) click on 'compose' and enjoy your bigger and better pictures!

Please let me know if this works for you - This is the only blog that I've tried it on and I'd love to know if you find it successful as well! If you know an alternative way to post larger pictures feel free to leave the instructions in the comment section. Consider it your good deed for the day :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A heart to change the world

Last night I had the life changing opportunity to volunteer at Feed My Starving Children. My friend Kristina and I made the trek to the East Metro and filled bags of food for starving children. FMSC packages millions of meals a year and makes a difference in SO many lives around the world, but little did we know that when Missy organized the event weeks ago that an earthquake would devastate Haiti....the very place our 64 boxes of food is headed based on their distribution schedule.

Kristina and I donned our hairnets along with a roomful of volunteers....

Jerry gave us our instructions and we got to work packaging meals.

Jen did a great job explaining the production process in her post about the event, but here are some pictures I snapped after I gave up my job of dumping in a container of soy (lower left hand picture)

Our shift was over before we knew it. There were many comments of "but we could do so much more!" The camaraderie and feeling of contributing in a tangible way was almost electric. I didn't even notice that it was after 10pm when we left the building.

Before we left the staff at FMSC shared some statistics about what we had accomplished in the short time we were volunteering. I did what any girl with a terrible memory does - I wrote on my hand so I wouldn't forget the numbers. They weren't just numbers though. They were lives. Lives saved because of a simple cup of food. (Liz talked numbers in her post and she did it very very well.)

It was an honor to be a part of this group of bloggers - most who had never met before, but who came together with a heart to change the meal at a time.

What was the best part of the whole night?

We had the privilage of praying over the 64 boxes of food we had packaged.

As Jerry closed the prayer I couldn't help but think of the children's CD that I grew up listening to called A Heart To Change The World. It's the 6th in a series by Psalty the Singing Songbook and will be the subject of an upcoming (give-a-way) post about how PapaBear and I are teaching our kids to be grateful for the blessings we have here in America, especially in light of the recent tragedy. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

i heart faces - (not my) family

One of the downsides of being a photographer is that I use up most of my creativity and time for that matter, photographing other people. The thousands of photographs on my hard drive can attest to that fact. Browsing through my pictures from the last year, I only have a handful of shots of my family. I get sad about that fact this time of year. It's nothing new. It happens every winter when the chance to take well lit portraits is almost non existent.

Here is how winter happens here in BearCountry: By the time we have enough snow to go outside and play it typically gets so cold that we can only be out for a few minutes and even if I did snap a few pics, the snot running out of noses pretty much negates any chance at getting 'the one' (hence why I didn't enter last weeks challenge) Now that our temps are now above zero, the snow we have is dingy and dirty - not exactly the makings of a great background. I'm shopping around for a 85 mm 1.2 lens (know anyone selling one for under a grand??) and then I will be able to blur out that ugly snow and just maybe I'll be able to add more than a couple of folders of winter shots to my hard drive in 2010.

Enough talk about winter....I'm ready for Spring! I'm ready for green grass....something like this maybe?

You can click on the spiffy new badge to see other entries in this week's challenge at i heart faces....

Monday, January 18, 2010

Spreading the Good News

A while back I entered a contest to win a box of Jesus Storybook Bibles and while I didn't win, my friend Tina did. Bless her heart - she sent one to my kids for Christmas. I have heard nothing but great things about how well Sally Lloyd Jones weaves together the Bible stories that I want my children to hide away in their hearts. What I love is how she makes The Truth understandable for little ears. The first night we sat down to read the Jesus Storybook Bible we read 40 pages. That's a whole lotta Truth in one sitting!!!
I could go on and on about how I think this is one of the best books you could buy for the little people in your life, but I'll let Sam's words speak for themselves.

"Yes, let's read extra pages in my Bible tonight instead of reading a different book first!"

"Can you read just one more Mommy?"

One of the things we're doing differently in this new year is to not watch TV as a method of unwinding after school. Sam get's SO worn out from all the stimulation that he needs to eat and do something that doesn't involve other people as soon as he gets home. I've started playing the audio CD's of the Storybook Bible instead and it works like a charm.

Is there a product or book that you are excited about using in 2010? I'd love to hear about it!

Friday, January 15, 2010

It was the first day of school.

"It's the hand that has the freckle on it," I remind my pre-schooler as we got ready for "4 year old school" as he calls it. We had read the The Kissing Hand and a devotional about God being big enough and strong enough to keep us safe when we are scared.

We woke up early, debated about pants vs. shorts, stirred honey, flax, and pro-biotics into our oatmeal, & headed outside to take first day of school pictures.
It seems like only yesterday.

Today he didn't want me to walk him into his school.

I dropped him off at the bottom of the ramp and watched my baby boy walk up to the door and let himself in.

I should have asked him for a Kissing Hand Kiss to help me through the rest of the day.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Alphabitty Moments - The letter M

It's Thursday and in BearCountry that means it's time for Alphabitty Moments. To be perfectly honest my heart isn't in it this week with all that is going on in Haiti. I don't even know very many details since we don't watch TV but there's enough talk on twitter and in the little CNN blurbs I get on my homepage to know that it's very very bad.

I don't want to be on my computer (thankfully I did my M page months ago). I want to be snuggling my kids and being renewed by their laughter. It's crunch time for my business for Valentine's books so I will continue to plug away on designing pages so I can meet my deadlines but my heart is with the people of Haiti and with the rescue workers who are teaming up from around the globe.

Monday, January 11, 2010


The food was sweet

The the company was sweet

The strangers who helped us out of the ditch were sweet

My welcome home was sweet (PapaBear had left the light on for me & the door unlocked so I didn't have to fumbled with armloads of stuff to find my keys & Sam squealed & jumped into my arms)

The the bag of cookies I had forgotten I stashed in my pillowcase (and subsequently slept on Saturday night) taste very sweet as I reflect on what an amazing time I had spending about 24 hours with other bloggers, most of whom had never met in person before.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Alphabitty Moments - The Letter L

Welcome back to Alphabitty Moments! I hope you all had a blessed Christmas break and were able to spend time with your loved ones. We had a snowstorm roll through starting December 23 and it didn't stop snowing until the 27th sometime. We rescheduled our big family gathering that we usually have on the 24th because PapaBear's parents live way out in the country and their road is terrible after it snows. Not that we would know, we couldn't even get our van out of the drivway after our three day stay. It was a quieter Christmas Eve but we were still surrounded by loved ones (Thanks Grandma and Grandpa for your hospitality). By the 27th the weather was better so we gathered together as one big happy family.

We ate, we talked, we played in the snow, we sang carols, we watched Julia go around the room and give everyone hugs, and we exchanged gifts. We were thankful to be together despite the delay in doing so. It's never easy to decide to cancel a long standing traditional Christmas Eve gathering, but I will be forever grateful for that snow storm. Because of the snow, PapaBear's aunt and cousins family were able to attend (due to illness and work they would have missed the 24th).

It would be the last time we were all* together. Aunt Arlene passed away this week and we will miss her dearly. I heard the song I Will Rise by Chris Tomlin on the day she died and will forever think of her when I hear the lyrics.

* PapaBear's brother and his wife live in Alaska and were visiting Laura's mother this Christmas - We missed you Gary and Laura!!!!

There's nothing like the innocence of a child to help heal the hurt of losing a loved one and let me tell you this little girl (and her brother) give the best hugs when you need them (and many times when you don't think you do!). These pictures were taken right after Julia turned three and at the height of her love affair with mean ......lollipops. The lone lollipop is one of the many we've recieved from the bank teller in the last year. Some day we'll go through the drivethru and they won't shreak with glee about the sweet sticky goodness that they save for Sunday morning church, but until that day happens we'll savor the little moments of happiness and hug each other close.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Baby in a Basket

i heart faces - x5

I don't think I can put into words how much fun I had with this week's challenge over at i heart faces! So I won't try. Instead I'll just say that I was dreaming of carving their logo into things a couple of nights ago. It's addicting I tell ya! Our challenge this week is to incorporate the i heart faces logo into our pictures. The timing is perfect because I've been waiting for a reason to post this picture of our cousin snowboarding on Christmas Eve.

I learned more about layers this week than I did all last year! If you haven't participated in a weekly challenge I highly recommend you do - it's a great way to think outside the box. Speaking of boxes - here are some of my favorite kiddos boxed in at an orchard a while back.

I doubt our bosses here at the park would appreciate it if we carved into the rocks, but thanks to the wonders of Photoshop I don't have to worry about that now do I?

I tried my hat at another way of incorporating the logo in the last two photos - the first, just screamed i heart faces to me...since my fearless daughter apparently likes faces too - so much so that she'll kiss the face of a fish!

I know this is Julia in the same hat again, but I loved her expression so much that PapaBear's shirt just had to be given an upgrade.

And there you have it - i heart faces times 5! Click on the button to see other entries for this week...

“I am submitting these photos into the I Heart Faces logo photo contest. By entering, I am granting I Heart Faces LLC permission to consider my photos for use in the marketing and promotion of their website.”

Which is better? Color or Black and White....

I need your help. I'm going to be ordering one of the free prints that Angie mentioned this morning and since I can get half off another one I'm going to finally take the plunge and get some canvas up on my walls.

I knew right away which two images I want, but I can't decide if I should do black and white or color. Things to consider...they are both taken in the grass so they already 'match' but do they look more 'artsy' if they are in black and white?
I think they will hang above my couch in the living room. (The couch is sage green with a kahki trim.) I have a quote in the middle of that wall that says "We do not remember days, we remember moments" and I think I can position the canvases close together underneath it. Ideally the quote would go under, but that's too high for the canvases and I can't move the quote.

So what would you do? I don't want to miss out on the deal so will be ordering in the next 15 minutes or so....Help!

Friday, January 1, 2010

this is not an ordinary Christmas card

No red and greens! Gasp!

No dress clothes? The horror!

No parents? That's new!

But you know what? I love it anyway!

Do you make your own cards too? Leave me a comment and a link to your card if you posted it - I'd love to stop by and see it!

Beginner Knit Hat Pattern

I've been asked so many times if there is a pattern for the hats I make,  but I was too busy filling Christmas orders...