Sunday, May 31, 2015


cool bug from my photo walk today.

may has always been a tough month for me on the blogging scene, but i finally conquered it.  yes.  i finally hit my blogging goal in the month of may.  it was tough going for most of the month.  many of these last few posts have been bordering on lame.  still, i'm proud.  sometimes you just have to power through and then start over fresh.  so, yes.  i did it.  thirty-one posts in the month of may.  whew.  and now i suddenly feel rejuvenated.  bring it june.  i'm ready for you.  :)

menu plan

the dinner fairy finally showed up!  woot!  and who knew he looked like my ex?!  pardon me, i'm just a bit slap happy from a late night coke (past 8:00 pm here, dontchaknow).  that and the fact that i don't have to work tomorrow as it's the first monday of summer vacation!  fist pump!  so, yes, g's dad grilled a whole chicken and a whole rack of ribs, and we barely touched it as we were stuffed from a large basket of wings at bww.  we also still have leftover stir fry in the fridge and leftover tortilla soup in the freezer.  oh, and carrier's invited me out for daiquiris at our favorite mexican joint.  looks like i won't have to cook or even grocery shop this week.  g's even taken to baking and decorating his own cookies these days.  life is good.  ;)

quality literature: the absolutely true diary of a part--time indian

at first i thought this might be a book i get g, my 5th grader, to read this summer.  it's written with humor, but deals with poverty, bullying, and stereotyping very well.  then i got to chapter four and decided he wasn't quite ready for it (there are several references to a more mature topic brought to you by the letter M).  i do think this is a really great read for an 8th or 9th grade boy (or girl! but it's harder to find books for boys) who doesn't like to read.  it's funny, very relatable, and written with simple sentence structure and short chapters.  the reader stays involved, and doesn't get bogged down in the text.  there are even comics.  honestly, it's very much a slightly more mature take on "diary of a wimpy kit" only written from a native american on a reservation perspective instead of a caucasion in the suburbs perspective.  it teaches compassion and seeing beyond appearances and stereotypes.  it's a good read.  you might like it too if this is your type of genre.  :)

Saturday, May 30, 2015

summer mantel

i finally, FINALLY got my mantel updated for the changing seasons.  it had only been since valentine's day.

i went with a beach/florida/honduras theme.

with the addition of the carnivorous tadpole with bloody horns that my son brought home from 5th grade art class.  he thought it mantel worthy, and i was in complete agreement.

the shell collection is from my childhood, and the bottle collection is from my mother.

this should be good through mid-september, right?  unless i get inspired about independence day in july . . .


so, i was just over at the high school picking wildflowers for my mantel overhaul (photos coming real soon), and it started to rain.  it was just a tiny bit with the sun still shining, so i glanced up to see how much time i had before the sky unloaded and saw this.  not one, but TWO rainbows.  magical.  especially for someone whose favorite cereal is lucky charms.  ;)

cocoa daisy: DITL kit (sold out!)

sorry for the weird glare on my photos.  i have barn swallows nesting on my front porch where i normally take these pics.  i hate to disturb them, but i guess i'll have to as these are just bad.  ooops!  but this month's cocoa daisy day in the life kits are amazing per usual and are already sold out per usual.  ashli did a supercute and informative unboxing video of the kits this month and she talks about the perfection of design and quality of product.  it's really spot on.  if you're into pocket pages at all, these are really worth a sub as they're so fabulous month after month.  they also have a nice variety since cocoa daisy uses a rotation of designers.

even if you don't do project life, this is a great kit to have.  these two pages are actually in my 2012 album before i started doing project life.  i find that pocket pages are just so much easier than layouts for doing multiphoto events.  plus, the cards are great on layouts and cards as well.

i also like that you can customize them and that the free (to subscribers) printable coordinates perfectly with it.  i added yellow and red sharpie to the compass rose, trimmed it from the card and added a piece to both pocket pages here.  and the printables give me just enough extra labels and small pieces to finish off my pages.

i'm ready to get going on more scrapping this weekend.  i'm going to get LOTS more mileage out of this kit.

Friday, May 29, 2015


and just like that, we're free.  aaaaaaaaaaah, summer vacation.  there was a 5th grade end of year party at the community center tonight, but g caught wind that it was a "dance" and completely vetoed the idea.  instead, he chose to celebrate by going to the movies with his mom.  i'm not complaining.  ;)

we saw tomorrowland.  i didn't exactly know what to expect, but it was nothing like what i expected.  i think it had a profound effect on both of us.  i actually had to fight back a few tears toward the end and g kept talking about it all the way home and all evening long.

"it really made you think."

this is what my boy kept saying.  i love that he is still idealistic, and i love that movies like this and being with him remind me of what it was like to be young and idealistic.  the movie ends with the message that the world needs dreamers, and there is still a bit of dreamer in all of us if we open our eyes to what could be.

my 5th grade graduate

my baby "graduated" from 5th grade this week.  i thought i might cry, but i really didn't.  honestly, i was more traumatized when he graduated PK.  i think then i was debating whether to keep him in the school he'd been in since he was 3 months old (teacher's kids go to school with their mommies in my county) or move him to an elementary that was closer to where we lived.  once i decided to keep him in the glade i was so relieved.  now he's been here for 11 years and we're ready to move on.

he had eleven amazing years at this school and so many amazing teachers and staff that i will forever be indebted to.  it was such a relief to know my baby was well taken care of and nurtured while he was away from me each day.

here he is "crossing over" to middle school.  hey!  i know that principal on the other side.  it's really nice to already know a few good peeps at his new middle school.

and he'll be taking his bff of eleven years with him (another teacher's kid).  good friends are also important.

so, yes.  i think we're both ready for this.  honestly, the most traumatic moment for me in this whole affair has been the photos.  i've been growing my hair out all year and have come to realize that the ponytail ages me.  i think there is some irony in that statement.

i came home from work the next day and chopped it off before taking g fishing.  i feel so liberated.

and in a couple more hours i'll be done with this school year.  woot!

and in a couple more months we'll be starting it all over again, one of us in a new school.  i think my little bird is ready to fly a bit farther from the nest.  :)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

cocoa daisy june reveal!

the cocoa daisy june reveal just happened, and i have three things to say to you:

1. everything is awesome. (my analysis)
2. can you stand the cute? (rhetorical question)
3. go, now! (action statement and helpful link)

okay, maybe one more thing:

4. the fabulous cut files (hello, crabs, clouds, labels, whales, and so much more) are free to subscribers!

wchs: a few macro lens tips

i visited the ridge at my high school again this week.  it's amazing how the wildflower scene changes from week to week.  there really is always something new to see.  this week i'm having a love affair with queen anne's lace and i'm fairly certain it will last all summer long.

stunning, yes?

on my last macro post, several people mentioned being interested in this lens and/or having trouble using it.  this is only my third time out with it, and i know i have a lot to learn.  i'm happy with the photos i've gotten with it so far though.  it shares many of the quirks of my regular 50mm, so that has helped me quite a bit in figuring it out.  anyhoo, here are some things that have helped me:

macro lens tips from one novice to another:
1. take a lot of photos - this is the cardinal rule of digital photography in general
2. lock your focus - digital cameras are very sensitive and will focus on whatever is closest to the lens.  this is probably not where you want the focus to be.  i keep my focus permanently locked on the center.  i then focus on what i choose to focus on and can move my camera, holding the button down to keep that focus, while recomposing my shot.
3. choose your focal point - you will have a very shallow depth of field.  not everything is going to be in focus  you have to choose the most important feature to be in focus to create a pleasing composition.
4. the closer you are, the shallower your depth of field will be - if you want more things in focus, zoom out a little.  the closer you get to your subject, the less of it will be in focus.  additionally, you can even get so close that nothing will be in focus and your camera will probably refuse to take the shot.
5. movement causes blur more easily with this lens - have a steady hand and wind is not your friend in this instance.  sometimes holding a flower stem steady on a windy day will help.
6. sometimes the camera will not take the picture even when the shot looks like it is perfectly focused- i don't know if this is just a quirk of my camera or why it happen, but it drives me nuts.  i have found a way around it though.  i allow the camera to focus (sorry, i always use autofocus), then flip the switch to manual and look through the lens physical moving it closer to or farther away from my subject till it is perfectly in focus again and then take the picture.  i guess i am overriding my camera's stubbornness this way.  i don't know, really, but it works.

that's all i can think of at the moment.  hope something in there is helpful to you!

anyone else fascinated by the tiny black/maroon flower in the center of queen anne's lace?

so neat to finally see it up close and personal.

i am wondering if the ants have a symbiotic relationship with this flower.

click the "wchs" label below to see more wildflowers photographed at this site this year.

joining with annie and "how does your garden grow?"

youtube suggestions?

do you have a favorite youtube channel?  i know i'm late to the party, but i'm just now getting into it.  i've been trying to find some more specific planner/journal/collage/sketch type channels, but i keep coming up empty.  it's very frustrating.  i keep trying all sorts of combinations of journal, filofax, planner, moleskine, midori, collage, smashbook, documented life, but i just can't find any more.  sigh.  any suggestions?

these are the few that i've found so far: love her #creativemidorichallenge journaling in a Midori (close to what i'm looking for) love listening to her; she's like a motivational speaker travel journal in Filofax (norwegion) travel journal in Moleskine(esque)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

g's bookshelf: bud, not buddy

g read this novel at school this spring, so i decided to read it as well.  it's historical fiction from the great depression.  it's a sweet story and a quick read.  a good read for upper elementary.

g's thoughts:  i thought it was an adventurous book.  it was a great story.  you kinda built tension; you wanted to know if mr. c was really his father.  you kinda get shocked at the end when you figure out what happens.  i liked how they described the hooverville in flint and the muskrat stew that they ate there.

if you're looking for greatness, check out christopher paul curtis's "the watson's go to birmingham - 1963."  it will make you belly laugh and the sob buckets.  also, if you're a school teacher or a homeschooling mom, you'll definitely want to check it out.  i use it often with my freshman esl class.  it's very well suited for 4th - 8th grade i would say.  it seriously uses every literary device known to the english language.  it's also great for teaching history and compassion.  this one's in my solid top twenty of all time reads.  it's that good.