November 29, 2011

Favorite Photo Tuesday #28

Thanksgiving morning we ventured out to a park of Maben's choosing.  Well, that was a bust because it was completely covered in mud.  I had to come up with a suggestion and quick, good thing I could see another park down the road.  So, we hit up a brand new park and the kids loved it.  The park had the old school merry-go-round play thing.  The kids had a blast with it and I had fun playing with shutter speed.  (I am really loving playing with shutter speed, it's so fun)

Look at Mr. GQ striking a pose for the camera.  What a wonderful morning we had as a family.

November 24, 2011

I Am Thankful

I am Thankful for...
  • my husband
  • my children
  • my brothers and sisters
  • my in-laws
  • my dogs
  • my friends
  • my blog
  • my readers (check out my current giveaway here)
I am Thankful for...
  • laughter
  • photographs
  • the funny things that kids do and say
This happened Thanksgiving last year.
 I am Thankful for...
  • rainbows
  • rain showers
  • sunny days
  • cool breezes
  • mud puddles

I am Thankful for...
  • our military and all who have served proudly
  • this amazing country that I call home...America!
And I am Thankful for so much more!  Happy Thanksgiving! 

What are you thankful for today?

    November 23, 2011

    Happy Blogiversary to Me!

    A year ago I started out on the journey of carving out more time to discover me.

    After becoming a mother, my identity changed and I put a large part of me on the back burner, my creativity.  I love to craft, draw, paint, build, photograph, etc.  I hadn't put any emphasis on doing it and wanted to put it back as a priority in my life.  Well, I did and I started this blog to document it!  I can say that I am a happier, more balanced person today than I was a year ago.  This has benefited me, my husband and my kids.

    My creativity is...
    • stress relief
    • my passion
    • a gift
    • me

    I have learned so many new creative things this year.  I learned how to shoot my DSLR on all manual settings.  I learned how to do stained glass with my husband.  I made a quilt the proper way for my son Colton.  There is so much more than I can't even think of right now.  It's so overwhelming to just think of all that I actually accomplished this year and I have an awesome record of it all in this blog.

    As a thank you to all the wonderful people who have found me in the past year, I want to giveaway something special.

    I am giving away a custom slimline pen to one lucky person! You will get to chose the color of the kit, the style in which it is turned and the preference in the look of the wood (light, dark, etc). 

    All examples of slimline pens I have made

    In order to enter I am requiring two things:
    • Be a follower of my blog
    • And tell me what you like most about my blog
    (Leave just one comment)
    I will close this entry Sunday at midnight Central time.
    *I am keeping this giveaway open until Wednesday at 5pm central time since no one responded in time.

    Thank you for every comment and e-mail.  Thank you for the praises, the critiques and the inspiration.  Thank you for this past year and I look forward to many more years to come.

    November 22, 2011

    Favorite Photo Tuesday #27

    I have been trying (almost desperately) to get a good shot of the kids together for a Christmas card.  I have been trying and trying and Colton has been very defiant.  He will look at the camera and just yell no.  So, when I finally caught a moment between the two boys, I knew that was going to be as good as it gets.

    I wish that the skies had not been so overcast and blah looking, I also wish it hadn't been 80 degrees at 9:30 in the morning.  I feel kinda bad putting the kids in long sleeves and pants (for 20 minutes) so I could take the picture.  It worked out and I changed them back into cooler clothing so they could run laps around the giant Christmas tree before getting some cookies and heading home.

    Well, I hope you stop by and check out a big announcement that I have lined up for tomorrow!  It is some exciting stuff, at least to me anyways.

    November 21, 2011

    A Glimpse of my Weekend

    This weekend was filled with a lot of fun.  I took the kids to a street art festival called Via Colori and the whole family went to the Texas Renaissance Festival. 

    Via Colori is such a fun festival.  Lots of artists come together to raise money for the Center for Hearing and Speech.  They do this by blocking off streets and chalking their own space.  I took the kids on Saturday and got to see the artists just starting their works of art...too bad I couldn't be at two places at once and see the finished pieces on Sunday.  There was also some fun kid activities, like making sand art.

    Maben had such a great time.  Colton was rather indifferent about the experience, until I let him run loose in Sam Houston Park.  Here he is standing on the stairs of the San Felipe House, all decorated for the upcoming holidays.  Too bad I couldn't get a good photo of both the kids together...then I would have my Christmas card!

    Oh and I can't forget to show you the artists at work.  Too bad most of them were far from done when the kids were done and wanting to go home.  I really would have loved to see the finished product.  I guess I will have to go next year...and maybe sign up for my own spot! 

    On the way back to the car, Maben just had to see "the gooey rocks!"  This is actually called In Minds, by sculptor Tony Cragg.

    All the fun above happened on Saturday and Sunday is when we hit up the Renaissance Festival.  We started off with watching some jousting. 

    Watched the elephants give rides.  How Colton wanted to ride...maybe when I believe you won't jump off the side of the elephant. 

    Food...lots of food.  You can't go to the Renaissance Festival without eating something on a stick, which we did.  But, we also had to have some ice cream because it has still been in the 80's here.  Definitely does not feel like Thanksgiving is right around the corner.

    We also watched the Birds of Prey show.  They had an impressive selection of birds and I learned quite a bit.  I also got to see a species that I never had seen before.  The King Vulture.  Isn't she beautiful?  That's the prettiest vulture I have ever seen.

    We also got to see the largest of all owls, the Eagle Owl.  I love his "ears."  Not sure what those tufts of feathers are, but they kinda look like ears.

    And on the way out, the kids were mesmerized by this woman playing the violin.  She was playing a lot of beautiful music and I think my kids could have sat and listened to her play for hours.

    November 18, 2011

    I'm So Excited!!!

    And have to share with all my wonderful bloggy friends and followers.  You know how I told you a while back that I was entering a photo contest?  Okay, I forgive you, I almost forgot about it, but you can check it out here.

    Anyways...I GOT AN HONORABLE MENTION!  Not as good as placing, but I got in Vermont Magazine!  One of my photos got published. 

    I was a little bummed when the announcement day came and went for their 1st, 2nd and 3rd places and didn't think much of it until my Mother-in-law called me from the grocery store telling me that I made it in.  I think that might have been one of my top girly/happy moments.

    So, check it out!  The photo that made it in.  Maben pulling a sled back to the garage after a fun afternoon of sledding.

    Vermont Magazine, November/December 2011 Holiday Gift Issue.  Thanks to my MIL I know have 9 or 10 copies.  I would find it highly unusual to find an issue in Texas.

    I'm so excited.  You can find my photo on page 35.

    They butchered where I live and the write up is kinda corny...but I don't care.  I have a photo published!

    Maben was super happy to see his photo in a "book."  He even took it to school and showed it off to all his friends and teachers. 

    November 15, 2011

    Favorite Photo Tuesday #26

    This week's favorite photo was captured in my own backyard.  I was out back to check and see if some paint was dry,

    saw this beauty,

    ran back inside,

    grabbed my camera,

    ran back outside,

    watched him fly away,

    come back,

    get bit by mosquitoes,

    finally...get the shot!

    This is a Red Admiral, vanessa atalanta.  They are found all over the world.  I was not successful capturing one of these guys while in Vermont this summer, which is why I was so happy to get him this time around. 

    The most redeeming thing about Texas in the fall...the great butterfly migration.  Texas may not have beautiful changing leaves, it may not have more than 2 seasons, but in the fall....we get butterflies and lots of them.  Maben and I have been counting Monarchs on the way to school.  Our record is 14 Monarchs in less than a 1/4 mile.

    November 12, 2011

    Design, Design, Design

    Whew, I am tired.  I have been helping my husband out with designing a logo, business card, handouts and updating his blog.  Some of it being very last minute due to some unforeseen problems. 

    My hubby is a project manager, public speaker and blogger.  He is actually giving a public speech today.

    Good luck hunny!  You will do great.

    So last night was the deadline to really get everything in order. 

    I started off with lots of logo ideas for his blog, C4 - Explosive Leadership Tactics.  If you have been around my blog long enough, you would have seen a logo that I did (I think back in the spring) and it just didn't work.  Here is the new logo.

    I think the logo design fits perfectly. 

    The "C" is the bomb and an integral part of my husband's concept. 

    C4 stands for the 4 "C's" that my husband feels are the most important aspects of leadership: Conceive, Communicate, Command, Complete. 

    Since the full name of the blog is C4 Explosive Leadership Tactics, I really wanted to play off the explosive part of the name, hence the bomb. 

    Did I miss anything?  Does it all work?  Do you like it?

    November 11, 2011

    Happy Veteran's Day

    Today is a day that I proudly wear an outfit that screams I am an American with pride!  Many people think it might be tacky, but I don't care.  I am proud to show that I love my country and my freedom.  It's because of the brave men and women who are willing to sacrifice their lives to protect it.  A special thanks goes out to my husband, who served in the Army, doing two tours in Iraq.

    Riding on his tank, Iraq 2003-2004

    I am proud that I was able to stand by you and support you.  The deployments were anything but easy, but I wouldn't trade that experience for anything else in this world.  It shaped both of our lives and our relationship.  Without it, I don't think we would be the people that we are today.

    Deployment night, 2005

    I want to take today to say thank you not just to my husband, but to many others.

    Thank you to all of our dear friends that are still in the military and thank you to their families who support them. 

    Thank you to my grandfather and Matt's grandfather who served in the Navy during WWII. 

    Thank you to my Father-in-law for serving in the Army. 

    Thank you to my Uncle who served in the Air Force during Vietnam. 

    Thank you to my Brother-in-law, Scott for serving in the Navy.

    Thank you to my brother, Dan for serving in the Coast Guard. 

    Thank you to my cousins who stand proudly beside their husbands and take care of the home front when their husbands are called away.

    Thank you to all the men and women who served with my husband, you all helped get him back home to me.

    Thanks to everyone who has served.

    Thank you to everyone who still serves.

    Standing outside a Texas National Guard Armory

    For anyone who has no military affiliation, please tell a Vet "Thank you."  Show your pride for your country and your freedom today.

    November 9, 2011

    International Quilt Festival: Houston

    I mentioned earlier that I ventured out to International Quilt Festival in Houston.  I am so thrilled to be living in the suburbs of a large city.  I feel like I have the ability to take in so much art and try to take advantage of it on occasion.  I wish I could have experienced more of the Quilt Festival, but I came down with a nasty bug of some sort that hit me like a ton of bricks while I was walking the floor of the George R. Brown Convention Center.

    The Quilt Festival is huge!  Like, seriously, HUGE!  I have never seen more Rascal scooters in my life.  They have a spot where they rent them out there.  I wish I had worn my pedometer.  The main floor (which is where I kept to) is 639,000 square feet.  You better pack your walking shoes! 

    The right half was all quilts being displayed.  Oh and a small Husband's lounge.  It was really called that and it was equipped with recliners and flat screens tuned to sports.  It was full.  The left side of that map (all those tiny boxes) were all vendors.  The far far left was ridiculously overpriced food and where you could rent motorized scooters.  If you ever plan to come, don't expect to get out in an hour or two.  You won't.

    On to the quilts.  What an amazing display of craftsmanship, ingenuity, artistry and talent.  It is truly inspirational to see the quilts that are produced.  For a total newbie to quilting like myself, it is almost overwhelming.  I hope you enjoy the quilts I chose to share.  I wish I could have taken photos of more, but some were off limits to photography.

    With any great art, you can find a personal connection and relate.  These first two quilts I definitely found a personal connection.  The first one was produced by a mother as an homage to her son who proudly serves in the military.  I look at that quilt and remember my time as a military wife. 

    Discipline by Cheryl L. Lennox

    I fell in love with this next quilt.  What a beautiful moment to capture.  A mother and her baby sleeping.  I look at that fondly and remember when Maben use to curl up next to me on the couch and want to take a nap with me.

    Dreaming by Sonia Bardella

    There were many quilts that celebrated the whimsy and fun.

    Good Onya Sonya Onya Bike! by Helen C. Godden

    California Dreaming by Susan E. Slesinger

    Another Whimsical Garden by Tina Curran

    The geometric quilts had me mesmerized.  There is a lot of math going into getting those just perfect.

    The Hues of Amber by Karlyn Bue Lohrenz

    Vortex in Variation by Nora Ronningen

    There were political statements made.

    Beyond the Horizon by Judy Holley and the Peaceful Quilters of Baton Rouge, Louisiana

    There were true works of art.  These were some of my favorites.

    Wish I was There by Barbara A. Daniel

    Manipulation #3, Pinocchio by Bente Vold Klausen

    Copley Square, Boston, Massachusetts by Bobbie Sullivan and the Coastal Quilts Artists

    And my favorite award winner.  This one took in one of the top prizes at the Quilt Festival.

    Harmony Within by Sue McCarty

    The one thing that struck me as a whole about the show, was just how many ways you can manipulate fabric and really the only limitation to what you can do is yourself.  It makes me want to try more and sew more.  Now if I could get over this bug that I have, I might try something new, but for now...I am going to curl back up on the couch and hope that the kids will be nice.

    November 8, 2011

    Favorite Photo Tuesday #25

    Today I want to show you a beautiful sculpture that I took a photo of.  This sculpture is "Monument Au Fantome," by sculptor Jean DeBuffet.  It's located in Discovery Green Park, just across the street from the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.  I was there this past weekend for the International Quilt Show (which I will be sharing photos of tomorrow). 

    I love how the sky looks behind the sculpture.  It was a fairly overcast day and when I was taking photos, the cloud cover broke momentarily and this was the result.  I love how sometimes you are just in the right place at the right time. 

    FYI - The building in the background is the Hilton Americas Hotel.

    November 6, 2011

    The Redneck Blender

    As of writing this, my most viewed post is Redneck Wineglasses, where I showed everyone how easy it was to take a candlestick holder, a mason jar and some glue to make this.

    I personally think the redneck wineglass is one of the funniest gifts you could ever give and it just got even better.  I heard that you can take a mason jar and use it on a blender...I had to test this out. 

    This is my blender.  Hello Cuisinart.  I hate cleaning you.

    Disassemble your blender and set the glass pitcher and lid to the side.  Also, grab your redneck wineglass.

    Fill your redneck wineglass with whatever beverage ingredients you like.  I originally thought I would be making a margarita to test this out, but I now have a cold, so healthy smoothie it became.

    Screw the base of your blender to the top of your redneck wineglass.

    Flip over and place on the base of your blender.


    It's blending.  : )  Once done, flip redneck wineglass and base over.

    Unscrew the base from your redneck wineglass.

    Remove blade from the base and clean.  I only had to clean the blade.  The seal was tight enough there was no leaking!!!  Haha!  Take that glass pitcher and lid!

    Enjoy your beverage!

    Is this not seriously the best news ever!  I just rednecked my blender.  (This will only work with the narrow mouthed mason jars)

    I could also see this coming in super useful to make salsa that I can just store in a mason jar in my fridge.  Ahhh, the possibilities seem almost endless.

    If you decide to make anyone some redneck wineglasses for Christmas, please include a link to this post to show them just how awesome their gift truly is! 

    And if you are curious, my smoothie was made up of orange juice, ice, frozen blueberries, frozen raspberries and blueberry yogurt.  It was tasty!

    Linking this post up at these places:

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