April 26, 2012

It's Home!

The spring fling was great and made even better when I won my own bookcase back.  Maben was ecstatic it came back home, especially since we weren't able to bring back Plinko.


Here it is in it's new home, all loaded up with the kid's books.  We have room for many more books too!

Can you believe it only too Maben three minutes to find the ONE new book on the shelf.  I hadn't even told him there was a new book! 

April 24, 2012

Photo 366 #17

This week has kicked my butt.  I've been sick, hubby has been sick and was out of town.  Steroids, steroids, antibiotics, more steroids and a cough suppressant has consumed my life.  Still not feeling close to 100%, but having kids keeps me alive and kicking and off the couch for most of the day.  So, we got out a lot for their sanity, not sure if it was the right decision, but I at least got a few great photos.

April 17 - The Texas flag blowing in the wind.

April 18 - A yellow-crowned night heron hanging in a tree.  The kids and I actually saw a pair of them.  One was hanging out with freshly hatched chicks on a nest.  The other one was flashing me a peace sign.

April 19 - I found a lady bug and decided to place it in the butterfly weed at Maben's school in hopes he would have a nice meal.  All those little yellow dots are bugs...ewww!

April 20 - I have quite a few blue jays that frequent my back yard and have been trying hard to get a photo of one.  They are very flighty and don't stick around long, which is disappointing because I think they are beautiful.

April 21 - The boys and I went for a walk after dinner at a new park that is still being built, but part of it is open.  There is a walking/jogging trail around a pond and this great blue heron was hanging out.  I can't believe I even got this photo.  I was shooting into a sunset with the light bouncing off the water and managed to get some detail in the heron.  Just awesome!  I love experimenting with my camera.

April 22 - My hydrangea is starting to bloom!  This is one of my favorite flowers. 

April 23 - This is my very snuggly dog, Animal.  He is definitely a lover and he totally thinks he is a lap dog.  He is far too big for that, but how do you tell those eyes no?

April 17, 2012

Photo 366 #16

This week was a struggle for me to take photos.  I have been dealing with horrible allergies, which have turned into a respiratory infection of some sort.  It has resulted in me barely sleeping and coughing a lot.  All of this has caused a serious lack of motivation to do anything, including taking photos.  I took photos every day, but not all of them are up to my standards.

April 10 - I always thought it was funny when people would tell me that monarchs would only feed on milkweed.  Proof that they don't.  I also accidentally stood in a pile of fire ants when taking this photo.  OUCH!

April 11 - I took the kids to Burger King because they wanted to play on their outdoor playground.  It was a nice day and I agreed.  This juvenile grackle was not pleased when I decided to take a photo of him.  He really looks like a very angry Don Rickles and it makes me giggle.

April 12 - I have slowly been incorporating butterfly attracting plants and flowers to my garden.  These pincushion flowers have attracted quite a few butterflies.  This photo was also taken with my wide angle lens (which means I was only about 12 inches away when I took this shot!!!!).

April 13 - The preschool had their Spring Fling Carnival and auction.  The kids had a blast.  I came back home with my bookcase! 

April 14 - Bright and early Saturday morning, hubby and I went to an advanced screening of the movie, The Avengers.  It was AWESOME!   When it hits theaters, you have to go see it.  Awesome balance of action and comedy.  I even won some hulk gloves at the screening.  Here is Maben testing them out and saying, "Hulk Smash!"

April 15 - More new flowers that have been added to my gardens.  These were planted around the base of one of the crepe myrtles.  They are very pretty and called, Cherry Brandy Gaura.

April 16 - We had some amazing thunderstorms early in the day, but by the time school let out, this was about the only puddle to play in.

April 13, 2012


Erin, come on down!  You are the next contestant on the Price Is Right!

Seriously, that phrase is one that I dreamed of hearing when I was a kid.  I idolized the Price Is Right.  Being on that show is one of my childhood dreams.  Of course, if I made it to contestants row, then onto stage, I would want to play Plinko!

I know that might not ever happen, but a girl can dream right?  Well, I did one better than dreaming, I built a Plinko board.

Unfortunately, it's not one that will be sticking around at my house.  I was asked to build one to replace the one that was lost at my son's preschool for their Spring Fling Fundraiser.  Even though I wasn't keeping it, I had to test it out (and live out my childhood fantasy at the same time).

The kids even helped me test it out.  Maben had to give the final board a go around before I loaded it into the truck to cart it up to the school.

Colton had to show all the ladies at the preschool how it worked, he even got fancy and sent two chips down at a time.

I had to give one last pose with my creation before I told it good bye and turned it over to it's new home.

Poor Colton didn't want to leave it behind.  I finally got him to detach from it because I told him we would play it the next day at the Spring Fling.  He doesn't realize that it won't be coming back home.  Let's hope he has so much fun with all the other games and activities that he forgets that part.

April 10, 2012

Photo 366 #15

It's been a busy and exhausting week for me.  I have so many projects in the works with deadlines.  I need a nap.  Good thing I find some calm when out exploring nature, which I did in my free time this week.

April 3 - I took some friends of mine on a bluebonnet walk.  I showed off how exactly to get to my local spot for the bluebonnets.  They are on their decline which makes me sad.  I love all the wildflowers and will miss them.  Colton was not cooperative for a photo, so the best I got was him walking away.

April 4 - This is Cowgirl.  She belongs to my next door neighbor.  She is a fairly laid back cat, but if looks could kill...  Cowgirl is not amused that everyday after school, Maben tries to pet her.  Today, she actually gave in and let Maben show her some love.

April 5 - I found a beautiful red-tailed hawk in my local hawk spot.  He was grooming himself and I thought it interesting to see him all ruffled up.

April 6 - I found two beautiful gulf fritillaries mating.  Maben asked what they were doing, "They are making more butterflies."  Thankfully, that answer was sufficient.

April 7 -  I get asked all the time if my boys are twins.  Actually, they are 26 months apart, but when they pull the exact same face at the same time, it's hard to believe that they twins.

April 8 - Happy Easter!  After a great egg hunt, the family went out on a nature walk.  We saw birds, an alligator, lots of turtles and some beautiful flowers.  These were my favorite flowers to see, prairie nymph, a member of the iris family. 

April 9 - Today I heard a ruckus outside in the backyard.  I saw birds flapping their wings and one emerge victorious from the spat.  House sparrow-1, Blue Jay-0  That is just so weird, if I didn't see it, I would have thought it would go the other way around.  Here is the house sparrow holding onto his trophy.

April 5, 2012

READ ME: A short story about a bookcase.

I love being able to create.  I love to build.  I love doing things that people will also love.  It's the reason why I volunteered to do the Preschool Class Craft for Maben's preschool fundraiser...again!  I wanted to outdo what I did last year.  I set the bar pretty high and I delivered.  (I am so screwed for next year, Colton will start preschool at the same preschool Maben is currently at.  I need to start planning now.)

I was inspired after cruising Pinterest one night.  (I will be back pinning soon since the new terms of service are much better than the previous ones, just waiting for them to be active)  I saw a bookcase that was 16 blocks that stated READ YOUR BOOK CASE.  I thought it was genius and decided to take the idea and put my spin on it.

I drew out some measurements (no plans here).  Actually, it was all a bunch of chicken scratches on the top of one of the boards.  Here is a quick photo story of how it all came together.

Dry fit of the cubes.

Assembly started, after dry fit and cutting 20 dadoes.

This was my first time cutting dadoes with a router and I didn't screw it up!  YAY!  Actually, the only thing I screwed up was the measurement of the two side pieces, which had to be re-cut.

Assembly of all the connected shelves.

Backing and floating shelves installed.  Onto painting.

They insisted on helping.

Side note: If I ever build this again, painting will happen before assembly.  Trying to paint all those nooks and crannies almost caused me to go insane.

After a nice healthy layer of paint was applied, it was carted up to the school and I hand printed the teachers and children.  (All names have been removed for their privacy).

I added some lettering, ala the style of Eric Carle after all the hand printing was done.  I love the way it has turned out.  Very fun!

I clear coated the entire piece.  This way dirty little fingers will wipe off much easier.  Once the piece was complete I carted it off to the Woodworking Show in Katy to display it with my woodworking guild's booth.  You are looking at the Vice President of the Katy Woodworkers Guild (soon to be President).  I had to show something off and this was perfect!

So perfect and I love it so much, that I just might have to come home with it after the preschool fundraising auction!  Yes, that means I will probably be bidding on a piece that I know how to build.  I also know how crazy that sounds.  I wouldn't mind building it again, I just really don't want to paint it again!

The only thing missing from it is a copy of, The Very Hungry Caterpillar , to be autographed by the entire class and placed in the bookcase before auction.

Showing this awesomeness off at:
Tatertots and Jello
Skip To My Lou
Sugar Bee Crafts
So I Married A Craft Blogger 

April 3, 2012

Photo 366 #14

I have come to learn that nature inspires me a lot.  So many colors, unusual shapes, movement.  I feel disconnected and at peace.  I have found that I am taking notice of the natural world around me much more.  I live in the suburbs of Houston, but have been finding the little gems that make me feel like I have escaped the city.  I love the convenience of living in a city, but love to get away too.

March 27 - I went back to the same spot that I did the day before and found this gorgeous scissor-tail flycatcher again.  This time, I was able to catch an in flight shot.  How beautiful are the little pops of color that were otherwise hidden when perched?

March 28 - I have found what I would like to call the urban mecca of red-tailed hawks.  I drive out there often and always find at least one, on some days I will see 6 or 7 different ones in a short drive. 

March 29 - At Maben's school they have planted a monarch garden.  Every day we are finding beautiful monarch butterflies and caterpillars, hatching, eating and making cocoons.  It's very fascinating and we stop everyday after school to talk about all that we see.

March 30 - Another look at the monarch garden.

Mach 31 - In the area that I find all my red-tailed hawks, I have also discovered a pair of northern harriers.  A magnificent looking raptor, but very hard to capture.  They seem to be a little more weary of me and often are flying so close to the ground and so fast that they are hard to capture.  This is the best shot I have gotten so far.

April 1 - An updated look at my project for Maben's preschool.  Stay tuned this week for the full reveal!

April 2 - A look at a beautiful black pincushion flower that is currently blooming in my garden.

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