August 29, 2011

Oh My Head Is Spinning

I have been so ridiculously busy and stressed that I think my head is literally spinning.

On top of my busy, busy schedule my computer decided that it was the perfect time to royally bite the dust and need a lovely reformat.  Thankfully I have everything backed up on an external hard drive.  (I totally recommend getting one if you don't have one)  So, it is definitely going to take a few more days for me to get the computer up and running and my files back on here and all the programs uploaded.  Fun stuff! 

So, please stick with me through all this craziness that is my life.

August 24, 2011

Favorite Photo Tuesday #20...on Wednesday

Yeah, I totally flaked.  I had every intention of putting up a photo yesterday and it just didn't happen.  I have been so super busy and just trying to find my grove with the massive shift in my schedule because of school starting back up.  I am hoping that I will find it quickly.

So, I am sure many of you out there have heard about the massive drought here in Texas.  Well, tonight we had a good thunderstorm roll through that brought with it LOTS of lightening.  Well, I captured lightning in a photo!!!  I have always wanted to do that.  Now I have!!!  It makes me so giddy.  With my house being totally surrounded by trees I wasn't able to get a clear shot of the lightening, but I will take what I can get.

I used my tripod and set up on my front porch, which is covered (otherwise I would have gotten soaked).  I used a very slow shutter speed in order to make sure I could even have a chance at catching some lightening and it worked.  It took about 75 shots in order to get it, but that's what makes digital so awesome!  If you look carefully, you can even see bolts of lightening behind the trees too!

August 22, 2011

First Day of School

Maben had his first day of school today.  Afternoon Pre-K.  Maben has been so excited for starting school. 

He can't wait to play on the playground, even though we are now on our 33rd consecutive day of 100+ degree heat.

He wants to meet his new friends, none of which either of us know.  So, we strapped on his brand new back pack and were all ready to go.

It wasn't a far walk to school, but man is it hot out!  There was even an announcement at the school that the kids were allowed to have recess outside because the heat index put it only at 104!

Daddy joined us in our walk to school for the very first day.  Both boys were more than excited to have daddy home mid day. 

I'm so proud of my big boy.  He left us without any tears.  Now, he didn't look super eager, he was a little nervous, but I honestly wouldn't expect any less.  Here's to hoping he had a wonderful day!

August 21, 2011

Summer Vacation Has Come To An End

As of tomorrow, my oldest boy Maben will be starting Pre-K.  This marks the end of summer vacation and being able to just throw the kids in the car and take off for an adventure.  It makes me sad to know that I can't live with total spontaneity, but at the same time, I am needing the break in the afternoon that it will provide.  Colton is still taking naps and with Maben going to school every afternoon, I should be able to get a little more craft/art/me time in.

So, let me go through our summer recap of fun.

We painted.

We ventured to see animals.

We celebrated birthdays.

We played in the water and mud.

We watched baseball.

We saw fireworks.

We picked berries.

We went to Vermont.

We rode tractors, miniature trains and RTVs.

We were silly.

We have had a lot of fun this summer, but like all good things, it comes to an end.

Bring on the school year!

August 18, 2011

I'm So Lucky I Should Play the Lotto

Okay, maybe not that lucky, but I won another giveaway!  I'm so psyched about this one too.  I wasn't quite sure what I was getting, but that was the best surprise box EVER!  All I knew was that it was worth $75.  Brandy over at Gluesticks had a Pick Your Plum giveaway a few weeks ago and I was the lucky winner.  Check out all the awesomeness that this box contained.

List of things that came in the box of awesomeness.
  • 3 bags of assorted ribbon
  • 2 bags of assorted ric rac ribbon
  • 3 bags of bobby pins
  • Several of those super cute flowers
  • 6 flower buttons
  • 1 bag of assorted elastic
  • 2 metal stars with magnets
  • 1 curly metal thing
  • 1 photo stand (not the curly thing in the top right)
  • adhesive chalkboard 
  • iron on vinyl
  • dry erase labels (I think that's what they are)
  • 1 craft apron
  • 1 tote bag
  • 4 rings
  • 1 small bottle of mod podge
  • 1 small foam brush
  • 1 square of sand paper
  • And some candy...not pictured, it was eaten.
I think that's it.  I currently have one of those cute flowers glued up on one of the rings and can't wait for it to dry and show it off.  

*Pick Your Plum is a daily deal site that is dedicated to craft supplies.  It's pretty cool. 

August 16, 2011

Favorite Photo Tuesday #19

Are you all sick of butterflies yet?  I hope not.  I may not have been a princess girl growing up, but I loved butterflies and still do.  It's one of the few things that is truly girly about me.  To combine flowers and butterflies is a match made in Heaven.  I was super excited when I managed to capture this lovely combo.

Butterfly: Viceroy (not a Monarch)
Flower: Queen Anne's Lace

August 15, 2011


I want to take a moment and apologize for my lack of posts.  I am home from Vermont, the kids and I all brought home a lovely cold which morphed for me into a sinus infection and double ear infection.  Maben has an ear infection and had to get booster shots and Colton is still suffering with just a cold.  We also arrived home to have a broken hot water tank which is thankfully now fixed.  I'm still not up to my usual self, but finally feel like this horrible sickness is starting to leave my body...but not without a fight.

Without further ado...more highlights from Southern Vermont.

One of my favorite things to do when I go somewhere new is to check out the local shopping.  When you are off in the country, you find some real gems.  There has to be a reason why places exist and thrive.  Basketville is one of those places and has been around since 1940's, but really rooted back all the way to 1842.

Seriously, I think I could have spent all day in this place.  It was a massive building dedicated to all types of baskets for sale.  I never knew that many types of baskets/basketry/wicker furniture existed. 

Aisles upon aisles that all looked like this!  

I could have taken photos of far more aisles, but honestly, I was a little overwhelmed.

That is totally a giant dinosaur basket there in the middle, with a few giraffes hanging behind him.

While I was busy browsing and trying not to blow my entire vacation budget in one place, my MIL was hanging out with the kids watching them build this.

Every mega store has a toy aisle, or two...even if the mega store is dedicated to baskets! 

My haul out of the place was much smaller than I thought it would be.  I brought home a free trade basket made in Ghana.

The detailing is just beautiful.  I also loved the magenta color to it.  I've never seen a basket with that color before, which is why I chose it.

To keep myself from spending far too much, I told myself I would only purchase as much as could fit in this basket.  So I picked up some cute basket apples.  Maybe as teacher gifts.

And I can't pass up local made food.  I can't wait to try the maple/apple stuff on some pancakes, or maybe some pork.  Oh, and that pumpkin butter I think would be awesome mixed with some cream cheese on a bagel. I'm hungry!

And it actually all fits in my basket.  I kept to my word.  Except now I discovered that you can shop their basket selection online on their websiteUh oh

Has anyone else found some local gems like this place?  If so...please do share! 

August 10, 2011

Nature Photography

So, this trip to Vermont has me convinced of a few things when dealing with nature photography.

Skill, Timing, Perseverance and Luck.  This is what you need in order to capture great nature photography. 

Skill - mostly means you need to know your camera and how it operates.

Timing - milliseconds can make the difference between a blah shot and a great shot.

Perseverance - commitment, hard work and patience.

Luck - seriously, when all else fails, you are better to be lucky than good.

Common Loon

While taking a ride around a private lake with the kids and in-laws, we came across a family of loons.  Mommy, daddy and baby.  They put on quite the show and I kept my finger busy while snapping a ton of photos.  I managed to snap 5 photos with wings spread and only two were usable (in my opinion).  This one is by far my favorite of the two. 

What a beautiful bird...what a wonderful day...what an awesome show they put on for the kids.  The loons swam under our boat several times, which was really cool and didn't seem to mind too much that I was stalking them with my camera.  I also consider myself VERY lucky for getting this shot.

August 9, 2011

Favorite Photo Tuesday #18

Vermont has been treating us well.  So well that the boys have taken to the dirt very quickly and they want to play in the dirt piles EVERYDAY!  Living in suburbia doesn't give the kids much in the way of dirt to play with.  So, while we are here, the boys are more than welcome to be boys and get dirty.

Colton was a little mad at me for interrupting his dirt playtime, but I just had to get a photo of that precious, dirty face.

August 8, 2011

Butterflies at the Beach?

Today my MIL and I took the kids back down to the town beach at the dam and I discovered a very peculiar thing, butterflies at the beach!  I have never seen butterflies just hanging out on the beach, in the sand.  Colton and I chased a few down for some photos.  I managed to capture three stunning species which I will share with you below.

Danaus plexippus

This next one was very tough to get a shot of.  He was a little more camera shy than the others.  These photos had to be zoomed and cropped, so not the best, but still a stunning butterfly.

Question Mark
Polygonia interrogationis

The reason for the name Question Mark is because in the photo below, the white markings on the wing look like a question mark.

This next beauty was very peculiar.  At first I thought it was a monarch until it opened up its wings.  While, the back of him is black, white and blue, the underside of the wings were orange, black and white.

White Admiral
Limenitis arthemis arthemis

Oh and I had to look up why they were on the beach.  After combing a few websites it looks like these are all male butterflies and them hanging out on the beach is called, "mud puddling."  They are gathering sodium and nitrates which are found dissolved in mud or damp sand.  Interesting!

August 6, 2011

If you haven't noticed, I have been snapping photos, a lot of them.  I am really enjoying my camera and now that I am much more familiar with it.  When I find a subject matter that I enjoy, I take an enormous amount of photographs of it.  I try out different lighting/times of day (if possible) and different angles. 

My in-laws put in a new bird, bee and butterfly garden has given me great inspiration and great subject matter to just keep snapping.  I am sure before my trip is over I will have another great handful of photos to share.  This group of shots is of one type of flower and butterfly. 

Flower: Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus' or the common name of Magnus Purple Coneflower
Butterfly: Boloria bellona or the common name of Meadow Fritillary
(side note: I believe that is the correct info for the butterfly, I had to look at several guides on the internet and none of them had a great photo, but I did what I could.  If I am wrong, please correct me.)

I love all of these photos and can't wait to show off even more of scenic Vermont.

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